ATM - 1 out of 5
You have to hand it to those who write and create horror movies because there is literally nothing they won't try to give the horror treatment to. I say try because 98% of all these attempts are failures in my book but, in fairness, it's really difficult to scare me. When I first saw this one on the new releases at Redbox, I realized that readily available access to pornography on the internet has ruined me to a degree as the first thought in my head was they made a horror film about Ass To Mouth...turns out this movie is about an Automated Teller Machine instead.
I really want to tell you that ATM is about a deadly ATM that goes on a killing spree slaughtering teens in the midst of having sex and doing drugs but that's not the case--it would be a far more fun movie if it was though. Instead, ATM is about the World's Luckiest Psychopath. One night, three coworkers from a financial service in New York leave the company Christmas party to get a pizza because their evil employer, apparently, didn't bother to cater the event and, since also apparently, there isn't a single pizza place in all of Manhattan that accepts debit cards, the trio needs to hit the ATM.
|Please please please let the teller machine come to life and kill them...|
it would have made such a better movie.
As the douchiest member of the trio awaits his cash, a mysterious man in a parka...I'll let you recover from that one because we all know how scary parkas can be...anyway, this parkaed man emerges out of the shadows and...those with a heart condition please stop reading...he arrives and stands there. Yep, he just stands there but since it's freezing in New York (cold in the winter, imagine that?) and it's the middle of the night, the trio decides to piss themselves. Unsure of the man's intentions, the group doesn't bother to call 911 because, conveniently for the man in the parka, none of them have their cellphones handy. In this day and age, the concept of people being without their cellphones is an act of fiction harder to swallow than Shia Lebeouf as an action star in Transformers.
|Staring Contest: The Movie.|
As the minutes tick by and the temp drops even lower, the trio finally understand what the only man dressed for the weather is up to (in case you are wondering, the only man smart enough to put on a winter coat in winter is the psychopath--the three friends, with the exception of one--didn't think ahead but, if you watch the movie, you'll see this is just another random event that fell into the parka man's favor)...anyway, we finally learn the man's objective when a random man walking his dog is viciously murdered by the dude in the parka. This is the only time a coincidence works in the favor of the victims. How is that, you ask? First off, it makes no logical sense why a man would be walking his dog in the middle of the night in a parking lot...unless, the dog prefers to drop turd on asphalt...but if this man had not come along to get murdered, how would the three learn of the man's motives? The movie would have ended up being an hour and a half of the most boring staring contest to ever exist.
|I think the filmmakers were trying to make the parka man look cool by sitting down while|
he terrorized the trapped three but it only served to better showcase how fate (aka the
screenwriter) was clearly in control of this situation.
Like the sexual act of the same name, ATM is not a good idea and should not have been done. The movie offers no real tension as the fact that all of life's random events that occur all happen to work out for the antagonist. They try to show that the man planned this event but such things as the impossible working out for him--like no one having their cellphone and not making a run for it during the hundreds of times the parka man wanders off or is busy with other things--destroys all attempts at this movie being hair-raising. It's hard to engross yourself into the horror when the writing is so viciously transparent.
|The look of true fear...or the look of a guy who just accidentally shit his pants.|
Secondly, the filmmakers were so preoccupied with convenient turns in the plot to put one in the grip of (I hesitate to call it "terror" but...) terror that they forgot to give the victims character and, because of this, a reason to care if they live or die is non-existent. They try to offer up a reason for their survival as the (by comparison) nicer of the two guys; David (Brian Geraghty), and the only female of the group; Emily (Alice Eve) are beginning a budding romance before a man armed with a parka and clearly held in high regards by the metaphoric god of chance decides that an ATM kiosk is the right place for them to die in. This might have worked except their character development is abandoned for terror (another term I use loosely) brought on in the form of reasonable winter wear. Also, there's the third guy; Corey (Josh Peck) who has no real depth and is just a generic, greasy-haired Wall Street type...so, it you're actually cheering for him to make it to the credits, you're probably just like him or a woman who would actually date a type like him (basically 100% of all women).
|"Shut up...you had me at your douchy appearance." - Typical thing a woman|
says when approached by these types of dudes.
To call ATM a horror film is to set the definition of the genre really low. Due to weak writing, lack of atmosphere and a hilarious lack of character, the film is just a boring tale of a guy in a winter coat staring at three people with a few interruptions of events that, if done properly, could have held the minute possibility to be suspenseful. Sadly, as a viewer, I didn't have the same luck as the parka man and nothing worked out for me. However, just like the victims, I didn't make a run for it when I could have and like the number of opportunities the parka man presented to the "trapped" trio, there were many, many, many times I could have run for the hills with this one and just hit the "stop" button.