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Summit Entertainment presents
P2 (2007)

“Angela, I just wanted to be friends. I’m alone. I’m always alone. Why can’t we just spend more time together? Angela?”
- Thomas (Wes Bentley)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: April 22, 2008

Stars: Wes Bentley, Rachel Nichols
Other Stars: Philip Akin
Director: Franck Khalfoun

MPAA Rating: R for (strong violence/gore, terror and language)
Run Time: 01h:37m:31s
Release Date: April 08, 2008
UPC: 025195034722
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C DA-A- C

DVD Review

Among the numerous cookie-cutter formulaic horror films released in 2007 is the blink-and-you-missed-it-in-theaters, P2. Named after a level in a parking garage, of all things, this supposed thriller aims to be a twist on the standard story involving a deranged lunatic slowly chasing down an innocent, incredibly attractive woman. However, it seems as if audiences are finally starting to sour on this tired genre, as this, and many similar 2007 releases tanked at the box office. Still, there’ more than likely an audience for it on DVD, which is exactly what Summit Entertainment is banking on with this release.

Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols) is a consummate business professional that just happens to be the last one out of her New York City office building on Christmas Eve. After informing the night security guard, Karl (Philip Akin) that she’s heading out for the night she gets to her car and it won’t start. Desperate for help, Angela finds Thomas (Wes Bentley), a parking garage attendant and the only other person left in the building. Unfortunately, Thomas isn’t exactly the help that she needs, and Angela soon finds herself in a cat-and-mouse chase that has her running for her life.

This “thriller” does very little to stand alongside even the average efforts in the genre. The main issue stems from an incredibly slow pace that causes the action to plod along. Even at just over an hour and a half, the movie seems to last forever, and, by the end, we simply want both of the protagonists to meet their demise, just as long as this ordeal is over. A film like this almost always requires us to root for either the killer or the person being pursued, and both of these characters are so unlikable that it’s difficult to sympathize with either. You’d think the many minutes of “empty time” could have been used to firmly establish some dynamic characteristics of these two, but instead, much of this time is simply wasted.

The sole purpose behind much of the film seems to be: A. get Rachel Nichols into a skimpy, busty dress ASAP, and B. get her drenched with as much water possible to make the second half tolerable for the male audience. In both regards, the filmmakers can consider their mission accomplished. It’s just too bad there wasn’t more of a game plan in place to, say, make a coherent, scary horror/thriller. Nichols and Bentley don’t help matters with their by-the-numbers performances. It’s difficult to fault Nichols, who, again, is merely eye candy, but stronger work from Bentley might have made enough of a difference to elevate the film at least a bit. He doesn’t bring any intimidating qualities to a role that requires nothing but, and goes way over the top with much of his psycho antics. His rendition of an Elvis Presley tune is downright embarrassing, and any attempts to exhibit utter craziness are almost always laughable. This is clearly not the Wes Bentley that was stealing scene after scene in American Beauty.

After a truly down year of 2007 for “torture porn,” a genre that P2 is on the cusp of fitting in, here’s hoping that this is one of the last of those films in a while. This is truly a case for the subgenre’s demise, as it’s neither terrifying, nor does it take advantage of the gore which draws many horror fans to such pictures. Check it out for yourself if you’d like, but I can name at least 10 other, similar movies that are much more worth your valuable time.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen presentation does a fine job with the film’s limited location shooting. Taking place mostly in a dark parking garage, there are plenty of opportunities for softness and print flaws. Fortunately, the images are almost always sharp, the color scheme as vivid as possible, and dirt and grain kept to the bare minimum.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio features excellent channel separation and very active use of the surrounds to create the claustrophobic atmosphere that the story itself cannot. There’s some nice, deep bass as well, and the crisp, clear dialogue blends in nicely with the music and other sound effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Never Back Down
3 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Franck Khalfoun, Alexandre Aja, and Gregory Levasseur.
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The extras include an audio commentary by filmmakers Franck Khalfoun, Alexandre Aja, and Gregory Levasseur. This track has the trio going over the standard commentary fare, including discussions about the shooting of the film, but there’s also some interesting talk about how they were never able to realize their initial plan for the project due to time and budget constraints.

There’s also A New Level of Fear: The Making of P2. This 12-minute piece chronicles the shooting of the film, and includes on-set footage and interviews with most of the cast and crew. Tension Nouveau: Presenting Franck Khalfoun takes a three-minute look at this first-time director, while Designing Terror is five minutes of cast and crew chronicles about working in the claustrophobic setting of a parking garage. Rounding out the extras are trailers for P2 and Never Back Down.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

The 2007 thriller, P2, is a true waste of a decent concept. More concerned with showing us a busty damsel in distress, director Franck Khalfoun should have spent more time on a couple of aspects that tend to make for a good movie: story and character development. Summit’s DVD does feature excellent audio and video presentations, but the extras are throw-away fluff, at best.

 


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