ATM - SideReel Review

ATM - SideReel Review

Imagine if a screenwriter figured out how someone could get away with murder at a bank machine and then built an entire movie around it without bothering to develop the characters’ motivations, and you have ATM in a frustrating nutshell. For the duration of the picture, the audience is forced to deal with unlikable characters forced into a desperate scenario -- the only interesting element is the mystery surrounding the evildoer terrorizing them, which ends up never being explained. While this sort of gimmick arguably worked for some audiences with 2008’s surprise hit The Strangers, here the ambiguity feels like a lazy cop-out.

This thriller follows a trio of co-workers -- the highly annoying Corey (Josh Peck), his straight-laced buddy David (Brian Geraghty), and attractive love interest Emily (Alice Eve) -- as they are trapped in an ATM vestibule by a mysterious hooded figure. Preceding the situation is a company Christmas Party where David finally makes the moves on Emily, his longtime crush. Just as the two are about to make their exit, David drunkenly invites himself along for a ride home, then demands to hit an ATM machine so he can order pizza later. Unfortunately, a figure awaits them outside the ATM in a desolate parking lot. At first intimidating, then clearly dangerous, the stranger has a plan; just don’t expect for it to become that clear to the characters or the audience.

First-time feature director David Brooks does a serviceable job at helming the picture, but screenwriter Chris Sparling (Buried) treads water with his gimmick before leaving audiences slapping their foreheads for bothering to take this cinematic plunge. In case you didn’t notice, there’s not much to like about ATM. The flick is downright ludicrous at times and expects great leaps of logic out of its genre audience. Beware of visiting this time waster, because this ATM only dishes out counterfeit thrills.

-Jeremy Wheeler


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