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Christmas movies just aren't what they used to be, and although this claustrophobic "woman-in-jeopardy" psycho-thriller is well-shot, it's also repetitious and unpleasant.


'Twas the night before Christmas, and workaholic Park Avenue executive Angela (Rachel Nichols) winds up being waylaid in the parking garage of her office building by security guard Thomas (Wes Bentley), who's always had this thing for her. While the rest of the city celebrates with good cheer, poor pretty Angela is trying to escape the increasingly dangerous clutches of Thomas, who keeps telling her he simply wants to be friends--even when he's torturing and terrorizing her. With friends like these... The remainder of the story is taken up with Angela's futile attempts to escape and Thomas' futile attempts to woo her as only a true loon can. Eventually, of course, they go mano a mano or mano a womano, as the case may be.


P2 is essentially a two-character piece, and both Nichols and Bentley try to give the material a lift. She's plucky and resourceful, and looks terrific even when taking a beating--which is fairly often. Bentley does just about everything but stand on his head to enliven the proceedings, frequently playing the character for laughs. Sometimes, he even succeeds. The only other major character is Rocky, the snarling Rottweiler who is Thomas' faithful companion, and in a movie like this, you know his (dog) days are numbered. Give Nichols and Bentley points for trying, and give the dog a bone.


Working under the auspices of producers Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur, first-time feature helmer Franck Kahlfoun certainly knows his way around the camera. P2 is nothing if not a slick, polished piece of work, and there are a few amusing blips of black comedy--including some well-chosen Christmas tunes--but, at heart, this is a simple (and simple-minded) exercise in stylish suspense, reminiscent of those 90-minute TV movies that proliferated in the 1970s, albeit with more violence and visceral intent.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 1/2 stars.