Horror films donít leave any noun unexploited. It seems as if every type of person, place or thing has had its word splattered across the top of a horror one-sheet. The latest such attempt at making something scary out of a common non-threatening object is ATM now available on VOD. And no, ATM does not stand for anything cool like Atrocious Terrorizing Meateater.
The idea behind the IFC Film Production is, on a late night visit to an ATM machine in a cold and isolated parking lot, three co-workers end up in a desperate fight for their lives from a mysterious psychotic killer wearing a parka (hey, if Crystal Lake can have a killer with a cool hockey mask then a parking lot can at least give a killer a down lined jacket).
The only thing protecting the three potential victims is the glass room that houses the bankís ATM. But the room is without heat and the temperatures outside are well below freezing. And every time any one of them tries to Ďmake a run for ití, the threatening unknown man shows a penchant for scaring or terrorizing the trio that they run right back to the safe confines of the glassed enclosure.
But their glass housing might just become the threesomes tomb as our unrevealed madman does everything from ram a car through the front door to filling the room with water sourced from a nearby watering hose.
In the end, there will be a single digit body count, a lot of bad decision making that is all too common in films of this ilk and an ending that leaves a sequel possible on the off chance that the film finds itself an audience. Just donít hold your breath for ATM II: Access Denied.
ATM is directed by David Brooks in his feature film debut and from a shooting standpoint, Brooks does a adequate job of keeping the story moving and making the best out of his simple location setting. The three protagonists Ė Alice Eve, Josh Peck and Brian Geraghty - do enough with their respective characters to at least keep us interested even if they go about things in ways that might have you scratch your head. And the overall sense of cold and isolation is appropriately captured on screen.
Our killer was interesting Ė but completely under developed. We donít know who he is, why he is terrorizing the trio, or anything about him really for that matter. We get to see but his eyes through a face mask protecting his skin from the cold.
And then there is the questioning audiences will likely have in regards to the actions of the three trapped individuals. There were a few logical lapses where ordinary people would have just got the fuck out of there as quickly as possible, but these three seem to want to second guess every instinct for the purposes of running the film to an even 90-minute feature.
Yet, still and withal, ATM really wasnít a bad film. Along the lines of Elevator (2010) and Phone Booth (2002), the film took a simple everyday setting and crafted an interesting plot around its titled noun. Itís not a film that is going to show up on any Top 10 lists at the end of the year, but in the cluttered world of horror and thriller films that flood our Netflix cues and RedBox machines, ATM is at least a watchable and entertaining genre film.