I don’t mind not being told everything, but there has to be some hints or some visual clues. ATM provides none.
If I’m not watching a movie about stoners, hippies and/or it’s not directed by Michael bay, I don’t expect characters in a movie to be dumb. I absolutely hate it when characters that are seemingly bright and logical do dumb things or act as if they are in a movie. The new horror film ATM involves characters who work in finance. To me, you have to be an intelligent person to work in this field. So why do people in this film that work in finance and are seemingly young and bright act like complete idiots? Why?
ATM actually starts with some promise. The opening scene involves a man looking at grids and layouts of various buildings and parking lots. His face is never shown. During the opening credits we meet the main character. His name is David and he’s played Brian Geraghty. I think Geraghty is a fantastic actor. In my opinion he gave an Oscar worthy performance in Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. He is good here too.
David is friends with a coworker named Corey (Josh Peck). Corey urges David to ask out fellow coworker Emily (Alice Eve) who is on her last day at the office before moving on to greener pastures at another firm. This night is also the night of the company’s Christmas party. David finally gets the guts to ask out Emily as she is leaving the party. He tells Corey that he is going to take Emily home since she doesn’t have a ride. David is Corey’s ride home too, so he leaves with them.
David has intentions of taking Emily home after dropping off Corey, but Corey is hungry. A small spat breaks out between the two as Corey wants David to stop at an ATM to grab money because 1) He has no food at home and 2) The pizza shop he wants to stop at doesn’t take debit cards, only cash. Honestly, what company in this day does not take debit cards?
Corey caves in and finds the nearest ATM. Little do they know that a pissed off man who has a serious agenda to hurt people is waiting for someone to stop at this ATM. Corey runs in to the ATM to grab money but something goes wrong with his card so David has to go in to see what’s up. Emily soon follows because she doesn’t want to wait in the car. Did I mention that they parked their car a good 40 feet from the ATM? I’m still trying to figure why they parked so far away.
Now, all three are inside the ATM. This is where they start to get irritatingly dumb. First, one of their cell phones is dead. That I do believe can happen. But what really irritated me, and maybe I’m nitpicking a bit, was the fact that Emily leaves her phone in the car. I don’t know a single female who would go anywhere without their phone. It just doesn’t happen with this generation. So now they find themselves trapped inside with this brutal killer outside viscerally killing anyone who goes near the parking lot. A man walking his dog and a security guard are a couple of his victims.
There are a couple of times where the killer goes behind the ATM to try and break in the back side. Why he is doing this is a mystery to the viewer and the characters inside the ATM. Why, at this point the characters don’t decide to make a run for it is beyond me. A lot of my arguments could probably have been alleviated if the film was just a short instead of a feature length.
Rarely and I do mean rarely, are there times that I am able to predict the ending of a film and how everything works out. I’m terrible at it. It’s probably because I get so sucked in to the plot and the characters sometimes that I don’t see things coming. ATM, however, is a rare film that I was able to predict how everything played out and boy is it stupid.
The film is well made by its director David Brooks who also makes his directorial debut here. While the film looks good and is certainly well acted, the problem lies with the film’s script. Written by Chris Sparling, the same screenwriter who penned the underrated Buried a couple of years ago, ATM is just flat out sloppy. Along with stupid characters, the film offers no clear explanation as to what exactly was happening. Other than tormenting three people, the killer’s motivations are never explained. I don’t mind not being told everything, but there has to be some hints or some visual clues. ATM provides none. Don’t waste your time with this film.