P2 (film)

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P2
P2 film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFranck Khalfoun
Written by
Produced byAlexandre Aja
Erik Feig
Grégory Levasseur
Patrick Wachsberger
Starring
CinematographyMaxime Alexandre
Edited byPatrick McMahon
Music bytomandandy
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release date
  • November 9, 2007 (2007-11-09)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$3.5 million
Box office$7.7 million

P2 is a 2007 American horror thriller film directed by Franck Khalfoun, in his directorial debut, co-written by Khalfoun and producers Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur, and starring Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley. Its plot follows a young businesswoman who becomes trapped in an underground parking garage in midtown Manhattan on Christmas Eve, where she is pursued by a psychopathic security guard who is obsessed with her.

Following the release of their film High Tension (2003), Aja and his co-writer on that film, Levasseur, developed the screenplay for P2 alongside Khalfoun, inspired by a series of real-life attacks on women that were reported in Paris parking garages. Filming began in late-2006 in Toronto, with the majority of the shoot taking place in a real, operating parking garage.

P2 was released theatrically in the United States in November 2007, and was the first feature film distributed by Summit Entertainment. It was a box-office flop, averaging less than $1,000 per cinema during its opening weekend. The film went on to gross $7.7 million internationally. Rotten Tomatoes describes it as "full of gore, but low on suspense".[2]

Plot[edit]

Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols) is a young and beautiful businesswoman who works in a Midtown Manhattan office block and gets stuck working late on Christmas Eve, before leaving to attend a family party. When she reaches the second underground parking level (P2) beneath the office block, she discovers that her car will not start. After receiving assistance from a security guard named Thomas Barclay (Wes Bentley) and turning down his offer to spend Christmas with him, she calls for a taxi and waits in the lobby. When the taxi arrives, she discovers she is locked in the lobby and runs back into the parking garage. The taxi leaves without her and the lights soon shut down. Angela, guided by the light on her cell phone, wanders around the deserted parking lot. Thomas drugs her with chloroform and takes her to his office.

Later, Angela awakens in a haze inside Thomas' office, having been changed into a white dress and high-heels by Thomas and her foot chained to the table. Thomas tells her that he loves her, despite her "many sins", having obsessively watched and recorded her for some time through the CCTV in the office block. Despite Angela's pleas and threats, Thomas continues to hold her against her will, even forcing her to call her family and lie about an illness so that no one will come looking for her. Angela tries to escape, but cannot due to Thomas' Rottweiler named Rocky, and is also confined to handcuffs by Thomas.

Taking Angela to another level of the parking lot, Thomas reveals her co-worker Jim Harper (Simon Reynolds) tied to an office chair. Thomas delusively believes Jim is evil after he witnessed him drunkenly grope Angela at an office party. He instructs Angela to get back at Jim by hitting him with a flashlight. When Angela refuses, he viciously beats Jim himself. Thomas then rams him into the wall with his car multiple times, killing him. Amidst the murder, Angela is able to escape barefoot after ditching her high heels.

While Thomas hides the evidence, Angela finds a safe place to hide and manages to get her handcuffed hands in front of her. She rushes back to Thomas' office to retrieve her cell phone, finding key cards and a spot near the locked gate that has reception, but after dialing 911, she drops her phone on the other side of the gate. She uses a key card to get to the elevators, with Thomas right behind. While in the elevator, Angela calls for help from the panel of the elevator. She hears a voice that appears to be an operator but later turns out to be Thomas, who flushes her out by flooding the elevator with a fire hose from a higher floor. Amidst the flooding, the body of Karl Donson (Philip Akin), another security guard, drops down and hits her.

While hiding in the parking lot, Angela is tormented by Thomas, who plays Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas" over the intercom. She breaks open an emergency fire axe and begins to destroy the cameras one by one while making her way to his office, prepared to fight. On entering, she finds a video playing of Thomas molesting her body while she was drugged, ultimately confirming to her that Thomas is a selfish, hypocritical psychopath who is obsessed with keeping Angela as a possession for himself. Thomas sneaks up behind her and knocks her out with a taser. He hides her in the trunk of a car, just as two police officers (Philip Williams and Arnold Pinnock) arrive in response to a reported disturbance. Angela wakes up and breaks out, but realizes she is too late as she sees the police car drive off.

Thomas releases Rocky, who chases Angela and injures her leg, although she manages to kill Rocky; this act causes Thomas to break down into a rage and viciously pursue her. Angela finds keys in a car rental office and tries to escape by car, but is side-swiped by Thomas in another vehicle, leading to a game of chicken, which Angela wins. However, in the heat of the chase, she flips the vehicle. Thomas opens the door, and Angela, feigning unconsciousness, manages to stab him in the eye. She chokes him with her handcuffs, takes his keys to free herself, then cuffs him to the car just before he comes to. Taking his taser, Angela begins to leave, until Thomas desperately starts pleading, asking why Angela won't love him back or even be friends with him, but then angrily insults her when she doesn't respond to his pleas. In retaliation, Angela points the taser at a stream of gasoline leaking from the car, and as Thomas realizes what she's about to do to him, she uses the taser to ignite the gasoline. A horrified Thomas is engulfed in the flames and dies as the car explodes.

Angela (who is now wet, bloody, and injured) opens the garage gate and limps out into a cold and desolate Manhattan Christmas morning just as the fire department, paramedics, and police can be heard arriving and asking her if she is okay.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

After completing the horror film High Tension (2003), director Alexandre Aja and his co-writer, Grégory Levasseur, began developing a new screenplay based on a series of real-life attacks on women in parking garages in Paris.[3] Aja and Levasseur approached their friend, Franck Khalfoun, who had appeared in a small role in High Tension, to collaborate on the project, and ultimately, direct it.[3] According to Aja, when asked about the comparisons with High Tension, he said: "With a strong plot in the vein of High Tension, P2 gives us a chance to further explore the survival aspect of the terror movie."[4]

Filming[edit]

P2 began principal photography on August 14, 2006, and continued filming through late 2006.[4] Filming took place exclusively at night, at a real, working Toronto parking garage.[3] There were fourteen white dresses made for the character of Angela to wear; each one was in various stages of dirtiness and decay. Three different dogs were used to portray Thomas' Rottweiler. Both Aja and Levasseur worked as second unit directors on the film.[3]

Commenting on the shoot, actress Rachel Nichols recalled: "This was definitely the most demanding job I ever had...  we shot for two months straight, working nights. I was in a dress with bare feet and they made these weird pads for the bottom of my feet. My arms are bare, my legs are bare, I’m wearing handcuffs for most of it – the handcuffs were real throughout, even when I’m driving the car. The bruises were unbelievable. As hostile and angry as I was...  I think it actually really ended up helping make the whole thing real for me."[5]

Music[edit]

The film's original score was written and performed by American musical duo tomandandy.[3] Khalfoun commented on his decision to hire them for the project: "A lot of their stuff was electronic, though, and I wanted something very classical. The parking lot in itself was so urban that putting an urban soundtrack over it was overkill. We needed something more Bernard Herrmann-esque, we wanted something in that vein."[3]

The film features retro Christmas songs by the artists Elvis Presley, Eartha Kitt, and Julie London, which figure prominently in several sequences[6]

Though an official soundtrack was not released, the following songs are featured in the film:[a]

Additionally, it features renditions of the following traditional Christmas songs:[a]

Release[edit]

P2 was intended to be featured in the UK-based London FrightFest Film Festival in August 2007,[7] but was pulled out soon before its date and replaced with Teeth.[8] The film was distributed in the United States by Summit Entertainment, and marked the company's first feature film distribution.[9]

Box office[edit]

P2 was released theatrically in the United States on November 9, 2007, in 2,131 theaters.[10] The film was a box-office bomb, averaging only $977 per theater from November 9–11, 2007, making it—at the time—one of worst opening weekends for a film released on over 2,000 screens.[11] The film's theatrical run continued in the United States through December 2007, concluding with a domestic gross of $3,995,018.[10] It earned an additional $3,771,222 in foreign markets, making for a worldwide gross of $7,766,240.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times felt the film's screenplay was redolent of other horror films, describing it as a "dull story" that "quickly devolves to little more than a strained effort in trapping, terrorizing...  and torture."[12] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times gave P2 a favorable review, though she likened it to an exploitation film, "bloody but not punishingly so, limiting the gore to tightly edited set pieces that never linger...  Throw in a car that won’t start, a creepy security guard and a filmmaking team with perfect synchronicity, and the result is a minimalist nightmare."[6] Roger Ebert gave the film a favorable 3 out of 4 stars, and stated in his review that "although the plot may seem like a formulatic slasher film, P2 is in fact a very well made, atmospheric thriller with gritty yet realistic characters."[13]

As of December 2021, P2 has an approval rating of 35% (based on 72 reviews) on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus states: "P2 is full of gore, but low on suspense, featuring a cat-and-mouse plot has been done many times before."[2] On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 37 out of 100 based on 15 reviews.[14]

Home media[edit]

P2 was released on DVD in the United States by Summit Home Entertainment in March 2008.[15] The same year, the film given a region 2 DVD and region B Blu-ray release in the United Kingdom.[16]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Adapted from the film's end credits sequence.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "P2". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "P2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Turek, Ryan (September 26, 2007). "Exclusive Interview: P2's Franck Khalfoun". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "P2—more survival horror from Alexandre Aja". Fangoria.com. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  5. ^ Turek, Ryan (October 11, 2007). "Exclusive Interview: P2's Rachel Nichols". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Catsoulis, Jeannette (November 9, 2007). "A Bad Day at the Office". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021.
  7. ^ "UK's Film4 FrightFest details". Fangoria.com. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  8. ^ "Teeth (2007)". eatmybrains.com. Retrieved September 15, 2007.
  9. ^ Grove, Martin (September 28, 2007). "'P2' sounds like sequel, but is first for Summit". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c "P2". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  11. ^ Crow, Jonathan (December 15, 2008). "Animated 'Delgo' Has Worst Wide Release Opening Ever". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008.
  12. ^ Abele, Robert (November 9, 2007). "Ho hum, been there, done that". Los Angeles Times. p. 71 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 9, 2007). "P2 Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 17, 2009.
  14. ^ "P2 (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  15. ^ Collura, Scott; Monfette, Christopher (March 26, 2008). "P2 DVD Review". IGN. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021.
  16. ^ Dennis, James (September 19, 2008). "P2 DVD Review: UK Region 2". Screen Anarchy. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021.

External links[edit]