ATM – Review

ATM – Review

Review by FilmFellaHenry – 5/10

From the writer of Buried comes another limited location horror flick, this time set within an isolated ATM point. Premise is simple: two men and a woman trapped within the small building, whilst a shadowy man taunts them from outside. Oh, and he’s a killer.

In truth, I wasn’t expecting much from this seemingly bog standard horror fare. Considering the tenuous nature of horror films in general, ATM’s trailer showed neither the innovation nor atmosphere to elevate it beyond the swamp of mediocrity. That said, I’m a sucker for single location settings, so figured that alone may be enough to prompt at least a mild interest.

Should have gone with my gut on this one. ATM is nothing if not average, a film content to adhere to formula without the assumed risk of originality. This self-imposed constraint is most obvious in the film’s structure, kicking off with fifteen minutes of unnecessary background for the film’s three dull characters. Moving to the central location of the ATM kiosk, the group perform a series of futile and ill-conceived methods to escape the situation, while their tormentor does a bit of DIY on their supposed prison. After various side and main characters get taken out, we are treated to an expected twist ending that is both logistically and narratively flawed.

Nothing really works with ATM. For a film that centres on the dilemmas and trials of three central characters, I expected at least one of them to be interesting; instead, they redefine the term ‘bland’, to the point where a Dalek, C3PO and Truman Capote would have been better casting. The antagonist is a generic mute killer that I’ve seen a hundred times before, where the only redeeming feature is an occasional brutality that does little to offset his complete lack of character. Sure, you could maybe say the same about Jason Vorhees, Mike Myers etc, but at least those guys were genuinely scary. This dude is just a bloke in a parker jacket. Why the three victims couldn’t just have rushed him and a laid a beat down is beyond me. Or, for that matter, just each run off in separate directions and guarantee two would escape. Bad characters make bad choices I guess.

I’d go into the boring cinematography, forgettable dialogue and pitiful attempt at suspense, but that just seems like prodding a wound that’s already festered. So I’ll wash my hands of ATM and recommend you give this one a miss.


About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

2 Responses to ATM – Review

  1. Filmfella Darren says:

    One to avoid then Brown – I can’t think of anything more frustrating than an ATM that doesn’t work. I thought ATM looked like a cash-in when I saw the trailer. I’m a big fan of one location settings too. Sidney Lumet and Hitchcock were the masters of it, but I thought Joel Shumacher had a good attempt at the genre with Phone Booth. Have you seen, Man on a ledge yet? I’m on the fence about it from what i’ve seen of the promotion. It does seem like the kind of genre that you could take the location first and then write the script second. You could say, set a film in a post-box or public toilet and then make a murky thriller from it, particularly murky in a toilet i’d say. And you know there would be a lot of people who would go and see a film about someone murdering people sitting on the bog.

    • filmfellahenry says:

      Haven’t seen it yet – though I share the same suspicion that it will go down a Phonebooth styled path. Which, incidentally, I found to be completely unsatisfying: I expected a minimalistic Hitchcockian thriller when instead I got some overblown Schumacher nonsense that buggered up an interesting premise. The first Saw film was the same: had they refrained form all that flashback nonsense and remained confined with the two characters in that room, the story would have been told in a far more interesting way.

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