P2 (Franck Khalfoun). 98 minutes. Opens Friday (November 9). Rating: N
The deserted parking lot's become a cliché backdrop for many a horror film scene. You know the routine. The key jams in the door lock, someone comes up from behind or is waiting in the back seat ready to garrotte you.
Drawing on our fears of dark, enclosed spaces, the setting's good for a scare or two. But it's not enough to sustain an entire movie, especially when you've got a script that elicits more laughter than screams.
P2 stars Rachel Nichols as Angela, a young New York exec who just wants to get to her family's home in Jersey for Christmas Eve, but she's working late at the office. Worse, her car - on level P2, geddit? - won't start, and the building's closed. Even worse, the security guard's (Wes Bentley) pathetic holiday plans include parking Angela in his office and waving around a tazer.
Director Franck Khalfoun worked with Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur on the very good old-school horror flick High Tension, and the three share writing credits for this. But as a director, Khalfoun has none of Aja's skill with mood and pace. Instead of making us feel claustrophobic and afraid, P2 simply bores.
Bentley's deranged killer seems more comic than menacing, and the script doesn't allow Nichols to display much besides her cleavage.
The only amusing thing about the film is playing Spot The Bay Street Location. Oh, and a couple of Toronto actors - one of whom played Othello this summer at Stratford - in small roles.