Dir: Franck Khalfoun
Star: Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley

This story is a simple enough premise: an office employee, working late on Christmas Eve, is the last one left in the parking garage and, as she tries to leave, is trapped in there by a malevolent psychopath (Bentley), interested in transforming her into his special friend. You might read longer synopses of the movie elsewhere, but that's all the important stuff the film seems to care about, right there. Well, that and, it appears, lots of shots of the heroine (Nichols) running around in her underwear. Though must admit, I was impressed by the durability of said clothing: it still kept her formidable assets (shown right - as if you hadn't alreay noticed) restrained, even as Nichols ran, jumped, slid, fought and got sloshed around in an elevator like a load of laundry going through a rinse cycle. It's stalk 'n' slash in its simplest, one-on-one form. So, why is it so singularly uninteresting?

I think it comes down to the two lead actors, and addition a script that never gives us much of a reason to root for the heroine. She's a work-obsessed drone, who is given little in the way of personality before her ordeal begins - and once it does, she is largely kept occupied with running and screaming [you can tell it was written by the creators of Haute Tension]. It would take someone with more acting chops than Nichols to turn that into anything approaching a character. Bentley is, if anything, worse, not so much delivering a performance, as a series of tics and affectations, right out of Playing A Psychopath for Dummies. There is one impressively gory kill and a scene which demonstrates the correct use of a tire-iron to defend yourself against a Rottweiler. Otherwise, it's about as interesting as spending 90 minutes in any maniac-free parking garage would be.

[November 2008]

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