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The F*ckin Black Sheep: P2 (2007)

12.09.2016by: Ryan Doom
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THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

P2 (2007)
Directed by Franck Khalfoun

“Probably the best thing about P2 comes from its empathetically simple, yet completely effective premise.”

It’s a strange thing when movies come and go. It’s as if I can recall a trailer, think, “Oh, I’d like to check that out,” and then nothing. Next thing you know years go by and for whatever reason, never stumble across the film again. It happens. That’s the case with P2. It had completely disappeared from all recollection until I started researching flicks with a Christmas setting. It might not be SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, but damn it, it has to be one of the saddest and worst Christmas Eves ever.

Directed by Franck Khalfoun (who gave us the very excellent MANIAC remake), probably the best thing about P2 comes from its simple, yet completely effective premise. We’ve all had that moment in a dark basement, empty house, or in this case a deserted parking garage where we dread that something could happen. Hopefully nothing ever does, but that fear exists.

And that’s what P2 does well for the most part. The story centers around an office complex on Christmas Eve where workaholic Angela (Rachel Nichols) is still working away. When she finally decides to join her family, her car won’t start and she’s stuck in the always terrifying vacant parking lot. That vacant fear of the unknown disappears pretty quickly (about 15 minutes) when Thomas (Wes Bentley) gives Angela the old chloroform gag, changes her clothes, and chains her to a table to force her to have dinner with him on Christmas Eve. Why? Because he’s lonely, loves her, and loves Elvis. Then things get weird.

While Rachel Nichols is good as Angela (especially in that revealing dress), she’s stuck playing the standard issue horror victim. She’s taken hostage. Scared shitless. And then summons up the strength to fight back and become the badass woman that she’s always been. Like all scary movies though, it’s only as good as its villain, and I really dig Wes Bentley here as Thomas. Now at one time Bentley was the next big thing after his great performance as Ricky in AMERICAN BEAUTY. Unfortunately, like so many actors, real life and bad choices derailed things (he had a very nasty drug habit). Bentley, however, effectively and smartly channels that creepy nice guy routine into his performance as Thomas, the very pathetically lonely security guard who just wants Angela to love him. He brings an effective level of creep and obsession. He’s confusingly polite with bouts of anger issues (“I’m here to help you, not hurt you”).

Since P2 is written and produced by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur (who brought us HIGH TENSION), it’s no surprise that the tension really slaps the shit out of viewers. The biggest fault of the film is that Thomas takes his hostage perhaps a little too quickly. As soon as he does, he really doesn’t have a plan for her, and it seems like Aja and Levasseur didn’t either. They do a nice job of maintaining the terror of Angela’s plight, yet not enough happens beyond Thomas demonstrating his love for her (by making her pervert co-worker feel really, really bad) and some cops arriving to check things out.

While P2 falters about halfway through, it works in the end thanks to a solid ending (including a good duel between two budget friendly cheap cars) and great performances by the leads.

GET P2 BLU RAY HERE

GET P2 DVD HERE

Extra Tidbit: What do you think of P2?

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10:40PM on 12/09/2016
"Its a strange thing when movies come and go. Its as if I can recall a trailer, think, Oh, Id like to check that out, and then nothing. Next thing you know years go by and for whatever reason, never stumble across the film again. It happens."

This is EXACTLY what happened to me with this movie when I came across it at a dvd rental place going out of business sale. I bought it for cheap and watched it this past October. I thought it was fine. I wish and was expecting better, but I think
"Its a strange thing when movies come and go. Its as if I can recall a trailer, think, Oh, Id like to check that out, and then nothing. Next thing you know years go by and for whatever reason, never stumble across the film again. It happens."

This is EXACTLY what happened to me with this movie when I came across it at a dvd rental place going out of business sale. I bought it for cheap and watched it this past October. I thought it was fine. I wish and was expecting better, but I think I still enjoyed it. I don't know if this will make sense to anyone else but me, but I feel like if I had watched it right when it came out, I would have loved it and by now I'd have a nostalgic (if you can use the term for something only 9 years old) feeling for it. Realizing it's not that great, but still enjoying it for what it was.
I, naturally, enjoyed Rachel Nichols and being someone who has never been able to stand Wes Bentley, thought he did a good job as well. It's nothing special, but definitely worth a watch. I plan to watch it again in a few years to see how I feel then.
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