P2 only caught my attention owing to the presence of Alexandre Aja within the films crew. His brilliantly brutal ‘Haute Tension’ made me instantly a fan of his work, and so with apprehension (I get used to being disappointed!) I added P2 to my ‘to watch’ list.
The plot: simple. On Christmas Eve an attractive office worker gets locked in the company parking lot. She seeks help from the car park attendant only to find that he is an obsessive psychopath intent on keeping her in over Christmas and killing all those who have wronged her. The whole film is set in the underground parking structure, with only a couple of shots set within the building itself. In all fairness the overall effect of this is both creepy, as let’s face it who would want to be trapped in a dark damp place, and claustrophobic. Being equally honest, it does sound both generic and quite boring!
Thankfully, and clearly with Aja’s influence, P2 manages to use the plot as a mere foundation and through careful writing and some impressive acting performances becomes tense and occasionally quite gory. It’s a definite slow burner, and perhaps the situation doesn’t cascade to as desperate or as gritty as I had hoped but the set pieces in the film are good and frequent enough to avoid the irritating ‘girl running around screaming’ fiasco I thought it was going to turn into – although there is a fair bit of that going on.
The movie does have a slight psychological edge as the killer is most definitely mental, but as with all good thrillers the thought processes and motives behind his actions do have a twisted logic.
P2 also breaks up the tension with a couple of pretty brutal and gory murder scenes. In one scene in particular, a guy, bound to his own wheelie chair, is run into and then crushed by a car. The gore effects are quite visceral as there are no camera cuts and some scenes are up there with the best in terms of brutality. There are other scenes which are also quite grim and it was nice to see that despite the subtle and less than 18 rated content found within the rest of the film the makers were not afraid to add in some controversial material to make their movie more impacting.
Overall the impressions I got from P2 were definitely mixed. I realise having read over my own review that the majority of the comments are positive but overall my impressions were pretty mediocre. I think the term ‘better than I thought it was going to be’ would sum this movie up. Essentially they have made good of a pretty crappy idea. I mean, the concept of someone being trapped with a killer is hardly an original one and the plot remains as linear as that, with no twists really. The movie definitely has a good atmosphere and the pace is good throughout and the gore scenes were a pleasant surprise but I really think I would be hard pushed to watch it a second time as the theme just isn’t that stimulating.