I've always loved movies that take place over a limited amount of time in a limited space, say over the course of a few hours or one day, in a specific neighborhood or building. Movies that take place over many years tend to skimp on the everyday details that really make a story, but when a filmmaker is forced to closely examine a specific space, those small things can come to life. (This excludes, of course, movies based on plays in which characters sit in a single room and talk.) These two extremes separate the men from the boys; anyone can blunder through an epic, lining up blocks of scenes one after the other like columns of marching ants, but it takes a real talent to find poetry in the mundane. While I can't say that the new thriller P2, which takes place entirely in a parking garage on Christmas Eve, is a shining example, it still has one or two worthwhile ideas, despite its clumsy flaws.
Newcomer director Franck Khalfoun, along with his more experienced co-writer and producer Alexandre Aja (director of High Tension and the remake of The Hills Have Eyes), makes wonderful use of the big New York City high rise with all its sinister safety precautions that eventually turn against our heroine. Angela (Rachel Nichols) is forced to work late into Christmas Eve, finishing up an important document. Late for a Christmas party at her sister's house, she heads down into the parking garage only to find that her car won't start. A friendly night watchman, Thomas (Wes Bentley), tries to help, but to no avail. She calls a cab, but finds that she can't actually exit the lobby of the building. The locks that are designed to keep people out over the holiday are actually keeping poor Angela inside.