Review: ATM / Cert: 15 / Director: David Brooks / Screenplay: Chris Sparling / Starring: Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty / Release Date: Out Now
Chris Sparling, writer of the entertaining Ryan Reynolds flick, Buried (2010) returns to a single location horror scenario and proves he should get out more.
It is coming up to Christmas, and the workers are just finishing their night out. Having just plucked up the courage to ask leaving staff member Emily (Eve) out, David (Geraghty) is rather pleased when she not only accepts but has had her eyes on him too. Their romantic plans are foiled, however when office knob head Corey (Peck) decides he needs a lift home, and will not accept no as an answer. Not only that, but he insists on wanting some food, and being out of cash tells David to pull over to the self contained ATM. David, wanting to teach his annoying workmate a lesson, parks significantly away from the building, making Corey walk in the increasingly cold weather.
As it turns out, Corey's card is not working, so he beckons David in to bail him out. Emily, being a smart girl, follows – leaving her purse along with her BlackBerry in the car.
As they are about to leave with the cash, they spot someone standing between them and the car. Dressed in a dark hooded parka and doing precisely nothing, they assume they are going to be mugged. The reality is altogether more terrifying. Or at least it would be if we actually cared about these people.
The thing is, for these films to work, you need to actually want these people to survive whatever the threat is. Adam Green's Frozen (2010) did this perfectly, ATM presents us with three characters who are either just nothing to us, or completely obnoxious. The silent killer/stalker approach is a brave one, especially since we have no final denouement for WHY this happened. What we get instead is an enigmatic finale, with a montage played out through the end credits to imply it is intricately planned.
It's not all bad, though. There is some tension and well handled action, especially when David tries to make a run for the car, but these are few and far between, and totally lost by the final reel in a sea of absurd decisions and hapless writing, which is a shame. I mean, you try trashing a cash machine, and I bet the police will descend a hell of a lot quicker than they do here.