Saturday, 6 April 2013

'ATM' Film Review

From the writer of 'Buried' comes another claustrophobe-thriller titled ATM, where three co-workers on the way home from an office party gets trapped in an ATM vestibule and is threatened by a hooded man. 

Starring Brian Geraghty, Alice Eve and Josh Peck, the low budget film had real potential to flourish. We know writer Chris Sparling is capable of tension from what we've seen in 'Buried' but perhaps all his creative energies have been used up. What we see here is a good attempt, but lackluster acting, poor script and a failure to engage the audience render this offering uninspiringly dull.

What is to praise about this movie is the setting. A dark and rustic parking lot, a fluorescently lit ATM vestibule and a cold chilling evening sets the backdrop- already we get a real sense of style, but what plays out in this cold and heartless atmosphere is simply that, heartless.

This is first witnessed in the flimsy character development. As much as we want to like the trio, they offer very little for audiences to cling on to or relate to. Paired with a script which screams 'WHATEVER', audiences will find it very difficult to develop any sort of attachment to the central characters. Unlike 'The Disappearance of Alice Creed' which soars with just three characters, here, we simply just don't care.

Attempting to thrill just as much as in 'Buried' and appearing to steal some tricks from 'EXAM', the plot is very thin- thrills come in the form of characters taking turns to try to escape the vestibule opposed to any real  interaction with the device. Had they gone down the road of 'EXAM', it could have been very interesting.

Alternatively, a power struggle between the three or a mistrust developing could make this a stronger character piece. All of this could have been incorporated into the 90 minutes or so, but the film only touches on some of these aspects.

By the point of the climax, none of the characters really achieve anything substantial towards freedom, rather drawing themselves nearer to death. As we reach the ending, it finally dawns on me that I have just wasted an hour an a half watching something that did not satisfy emotionally or creatively. It all just seems a bit of a joke. 

Left open ended enough for a sequel, I would urge producers, writers and directors to steer away. There is war in some countries, children starving and political corruption. The last thing we need is another poorly made slasher horror movie like this.

For solace, there are movies in this genre made well, such as:
-Panic Room

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