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ATM

Year: 2012
Production Co: Golden Circle Films
Director: David Brooks
Writer: Chris Sparling/Ron Tippe
Cast: Brian Geraghty, Josh Peck, Alice Eve

You can see what writer Chris Sparling and director David Brooks were trying to do with this concept, and even though they treat it as seriously as possible it's stretched so taut it's ready to snap most of the time.

It's a fairly naked allegory for a hundred thrillers where the heroes are stranded at sea with a hungry shark circling, but in this case the heroes – work colleagues David (Brian Geraghty), Emily (Alice Eve) and Corey (Josh Peck) – are stranded in a small freestanding ATM structure in an abandoned parking lot in the middle of the night. The shark is a psychopathic killer waiting outside for them and the ticking clock that might otherwise be the rising tide or dwindling oxygen is that it's Christmas Eve, it's freezing cold and if they don't get out to safety in time they'll freeze to death.

You have to really suspend disbelief – the three stricken leads are terrified as if their antagonist is some mythical monster whereas if this really happened, two twentysomething guys would gang up to rush the guy outside rather than stay inside and freeze, no matter how violent or intimidating he is.

Driving his work buddy Corey and the girl at work he has a crush on, Emily, home after the Christmas party, David stops in at the lonely ATM so Corey can get some cash. When he has problems with his card, the other two join him, whereupon they all see a figure wearing a parka skulking around outside. The trio figure he's a robber but while they try to figure out what to do, a man walking a dog comes by, only to be attacked by the figure and bashed to death.

It soon becomes apparent he's outside waiting for them, unable to come in without an ATM card, but determined to wait them out so he can kill them too – or watch them die inside from the cold. With their phones still in the car outside and a killer in between who employs any number of gleeful cruelties to flush them out (cutting off the heat, filling the room with water, etc) the race is on to get help, get out and stay alive.

It's a fairly effective one-location little thriller and everyone gives it everything they have. You just might have problems buying the conceit depending on how forgiving you are.

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