By Anthony Wetmore
P2 is a 2007 Christmas-tinged horror film from writer and director Franck Khalfoun that has been grossly overlooked in this particular category. The premise comes off as any other paint-by-number slasher, a woman, Angelica, trying to leave work in time to make the family Christmas party is stopped when Tom, a lonely security guard come undone decides to change those plans; but P2 shines where others fail.
The game of cat and mouse that develops over a relatively short run-time is bolstered by great performances from Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley, the latter whom you may recognize from American Beauty. Bentley brings a comfortable strangeness to Tom; a strange vocal affectation that rides the line between angry man and Pee-Wee Herman, or the argument he presents to Angela revealing a deeper level of P2.
That this may seem doubly relevant in light of the recent realizations we’ve come to about a hefty number of men in power is fully my projection. The situation is played out as if manifesting the very idea of systematic gas-lighting and out and out abuse.
Angela is initially assaulted off-screen at a Christmas party; we are presented this in a half-assed and half-accepted apology from a colleague in order for a larger payoff later. Is it better that Angela follows Tom along on his games of vague morality in order to survive? Does Tom maybe have a point in his rash actions in apparent defense of Angela?
The answers are perhaps murky, but very simple. There is an interesting personification of abuse in P2 as well as a bevy of Christmas adornment. ‘Way to ruin/Merry Christmas’ is a phrase we hear repeated as punctuations to denote each of the three acts, a curious device used cleverly to further highlight the deeper roots of the film as a whole.
If you’re looking for something in realm of gore as opposed to garland this Christmas, you can’t go wrong with adding the surprisingly topical and refreshing P2 to your holiday must-sees.