UTG is continuing to expand our film coverage with the debut of VIDEO 2 GO, a recurring review column dedicated to features released outside of movie theaters. Whether it’s VOD, online only, or direct-to-dvd, this feature is dedicated to the films destined for the small screen.
If you have a film, or even if you simply know of one we need to cover, let us know! send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading “V2G” and tell us about it!
This week’s pick: ATM
Survival horror meets the world of low rent slashers with the latest yawn to hit VOD everywhere, ATM.
The world is changing faster with each passing year, but one genre that never grows old is horror. As long as the audience can relate to the characters in some way, no matter how small or stereotypical, a connection can be formed with something deeply seeded in every one of us. ATM, the long-shelved film about three young adults trapped by a maniacal killer, somehow manages to mess this up.
ATM stars Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty, and some unknown assailant in a winter coat as four characters forced to act like their entire interaction would ever take longer than fifteen minutes. Following a night of partying filled with bad dialogue and corny jokes, David (Geraghty) and Emily (Alice) are just about to sneak away when David’s drunken friend Corey (Peck) asks for a ride home. David obliges his friend, but soon finds himself regretting his answer when Corey begins asking him to make various stops on the way home, one of which being an ATM. David reluctantly agrees and decides the best ATM for their late night stop is one located in the world’s most isolated parking lot. He parks a good fifty feet away, likely to make a subliminal jab at Corey, but then begins to regret doing so when he, Corey, and Emily all find themselves trapped in the ATM booth while a veiled assailant watches from the vacant lot.
That’s it. That is the entire plot of the movie. If you’re like me, you probably whipped through that entire description in under three minutes, but I swear to you I have given nearly every detail aside from minor twists to you and somehow it was enough to spawn a feature length film.
Let’s forget the flimsy premise of ATM for a moment because really, that is in no way a fault of the film. Many horror films have simple plots that manage to send chills through audiences (Cujo, anyone?), but most those features are wise enough to leave a little something “extra” to thicken up the story. This is not one of those stories. What you read, what you see in the trailer, and really, what you expect when someone says “So there’s a horror film about an ATM” is exactly what you get, only with considerably more lethargic acting that you probably ever wanted to see. It’s three-on-one! No one has a gun (spoiler?)! What the HELL about that formula requires a feature length film!?
ATM is a by-the-numbers horror film that not only forgoes trying to expand the genre, it may actually set it back. The plot is awful, the twist is given away up front, and the acting might as well be based on notes taken from the least creative middle school drama teacher on the planet. It’s hard for me to say it, but it may not even be worth a $3 rental.
Written by: James Shotwell (Twitter)