Director: Frank Khalfoun
Year of release: 2007
Country of origin: USA/Canada
Running time: 98 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Also known as: Parking Level 2
Tagline: "A new level of fear", The only thing more terrifying than being alone is discovering that you're not" and "She did what he never expected, she fought back".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: After working late at her office building on Christmas Eve, businesswoman Angela is dismayed to find her car won't start meaning she will be late for a family get together planned for later that evening. Things go from bad to worse when it becomes apparent that she is trapped within the building, primarily the underground parking levels where she is at the mercy of deranged security attendant Thomas. Thomas has orchestrated the lock in after developing an obsession with Angela from afar. He now seems determined to spend Christmas with her whatever the cost.
Good points: The film is high on tension and excitement with numerous moments where Angela is being stalked or chased by Thomas or on one occasion his Rottweiler Rocky. Similarly there are also a couple of bits where Angela is close to escape or being helped by the police only to be thwarted at the last minute. These parts of P2 are often edge of your seat moments in particular the cat and mouse game played out between the two towards the end where they are both in cars.
P2 deserves a lot of credit for being driven forward primarily by just the two characters of Thomas and Angela. There are supporting actors popping in here and there but it is very much a two person show and they both do a fine job. Angela is likeable and sympathetic while being tough at the same time. While not your typical masked menace, Thomas comes across as suitably dangerous and unhinged while at the same time being kind of sympathetic to a degree himself as you sense he has been pushed to these lengths by loneliness. He was always fun to watch and I particularly liked the part where he tried to force a Christmas dinner on Angela in his office. I even found myself rooting for him a bit towards though this probably wasn't what was intended.
As there are only a handful of characters there aren't a lot of deaths as you can imagine but the first one is very well done and suitably gory. I'd go as far to say it is one of my favourite kills I've seen out of the films I've watched over the last few months. The last death and struggle surrounding it isn't half bad either and although we don't get buckets of gore by any stretch throughout the film when it is used it is done well. That said the second kill is completely off camera so a big let down after the great first one.
Bad Points: The bit with the water in the lift I felt was something that maybe someone in Thomas's position in real life wouldn't chance as it was likely to turn out in one of two ways neither of which would be ideal. Either the water wouldn't penetrate the lift much at all and as such wouldn't be an effective way of trying to smoke her out (so to speak) or it would do as it did in the film but perhaps damage the electrics so that she wouldn't be able to open the door which would mean she would drown. His intention wasn't to kill her though so it was risky and a bit unrealistic that he did what he did. This bit with the water also ties in with the disappointing second death that I mentioned previously.
As with the point above this is a small thing but at one point Angela goes around destroying security cameras with an axe so that Thomas can't track her movements from his office. I thought this would come into play later and give her an advantage of some kind but it wasn't referred to again and they didn't show Thomas in the office realising what she had done and being frustrated. There may have been one brief moment where he couldn't see the police car due to a smashed camera once they start checking out the building but nothing other than that which didn't cause him any problems anyway so the whole thing felt underutilised.
This is more of a cat and mouse psychological thriller and horror movie as opposed to a straight slasher (though of course it has many slasher elements) so there is a lower body count than I would have liked. SPOILER AHEAD:
One of the kills is also a dog so if you don't want to count that we have an even lower body count. This is to be expected though I guess with the small number of actors used. After Angela killed the dog I did start to find myself rooting for Thomas a bit more as well though of course she had to do something as she was kind of in a kill or be killed scenario when Rocky attacked her
Verdict: I'd say this is easily one of my favourite Christmas themed slashers/horrors with two strong characters in Angela and Thomas single handedly carrying the film from one enjoyable set piece to the next from almost the start right through to the finish. It could have done with one or two more deaths and there is no mystery or guesswork elements as we know who the killer is straight away but despite this it never becomes boring and remains a very entertaining experience throughout.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Jim: Battered around the head with a flashlight and then crushed against a wall after repeatedly being rammed by a car.
2) Karl: Killed off camera. Think he had blood on his head. His body is thrown into the flooded lift.
3) Rocky (the dog): Stabbed with tyre jack after he dives into the backseat next to Angela in the car she is hiding in.
4) Thomas: Stabbed in the eye with a nail file and handcuffed to the car. Is then burned alive after Angela lights a trail of gasoline leading to the vehicle.