Written and Produced by
Franck Khalfoun, Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur
Rachel Nichols as Angela Bridges
Wes Bentley as Thomas Barclay
Budget $3.5M Box Office $7.7M
IMDb 5.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes 33% Metacritic 37/100
When I first started watching this film I have to admit, I wasn’t impressed. I felt it was flat and lacked any kind of action or substance. But then we got to the parking garage and the creepy guy that made watching plastic bags in the wind famous, he kicked the movie into high gear and we were off for a ride on the crazy train.
Everything starts normal enough. Angela is at the office, trying to leave as she is running late for a family Christmas get together. When she gets to her car it won’t start. Thomas, the nighttime security guard for the parking garage, tries to help her but, they are unsuccessful. She is slightly less than grateful I guess you could say. I mean, she’s already irritated and in a hurry, then her car won’t start and this guy that tries to help her is really only being more of a hindrance rather than being of any aid. So, she gets a little snarky and yeah, he picks up on it. Still he offers for her to spend the Christmas evening with him since she is without a running car and late for her event anyways but, she turns him down.
She goes to the lobby of the building to call and wait for a cab however, when the taxi arrives she finds herself locked in the building. She motions for the cabbie to wait as she runs to the parking garage to try to get out that way but, she is too late as she sees him drive off as she runs up to the gate. Shortly thereafter the lights in the garage go out and Angela is left with just the light of her cell phone.
Thomas then swiftly attacks her, doses her with chloroform over her face and takes her to his office in the parking garage where he chains her foot to the table and has an entire Christmas feast (in Tupperware) set up for them. He has candles and champagne and tries to make it a romantic dinner date. He has changed her clothes into a white dress, instead of the business attire she had been wearing when he put her out.
Then, over a creepy psychotic attempt at a romantic dinner date conversation, Thomas starts explaining to Angela that he’s been watching her on the security cameras for some time now. He knows about a particular co-worker making an aggressive drunken pass at her in the elevator during a work function one evening. He tells her he knows about her family. In fact, he makes her call them to cancel her evening, something she apparently does often so, to them, it’s not unusual. He then continues to terrorize her. At one point, he puts her in his car and takes her to a lower level where he shows her another captive of his, the sexually aggressive co-worker that made a pass at her. Thomas wants her to exact revenge on this guy, Jim, who is duct taped to a chair and gagged, and tries to hand her a flashlight to do so. Angela refuses. Thomas gets pissed as all get out, fuming about how she should have more respect for herself and shouldn’t be okay with guys treating her like that and Thomas decides he’s going to be her knight in shining armor. (I guess he’s forgotten that he’s emotionally and psychologically torturing her and that she’s probably considering him anything BUT charming at the moment but, hey, maybe he thinks that’s the way to a woman’s heart. It’s NOT. Just so you all know. It’s DEFINITELY NOT.)
So, Thomas hops out of the car and starts wailing on this poor guy who actually apologized to Angela in her office before she left work that very night. (He knew he got out of hand and he admitted it, asked for her forgiveness.) Now, she’s trying to tell Thomas that this guy said he was sorry and he’s a good man and he has a family and that’s when Thomas REALLY loses it. He gets back in the car and within seconds puts the pedal to the metal and plows the front end of the car into Jim. He starts pushing Jim around on the chair at faster and faster rates, screaming at both his victims in and out of the car. Next thing you know, chair guy is flattened between the wall and the front end of the car. And as if that wasn’t enough, either for Angela or this guy who just got rammed, Thomas backs up and rams him again! (Oh the horror!!!! This is actually a great scene.)
Luckily, during his psycho killing fit, Angela is able to escape the car, shed her high heels and find a spot to hide. Thomas decides to hide Jim’s body so, Angela takes the opportunity to make her way back to the office for her cell phone. And that’s when things get really interesting and crazy. All she has to do is get past Tom’s chained up guard dog, get her phone, find some keys, find a way out, avoid Thomas and escape to the outside. Easy. Right?
I really liked this film. I watch a lot of true crime and people and situations like this actually do exist. The Thomas character is well portrayed. He is so obsessed with Angela that he doesn’t even realize that he is the very thing that is destroying her, not this Jim guy that he has fixated on as the person who has so horribly disrespected her. And his lack of ability to see that he is scaring her or that he is emotionally and psychologically torturing her is completely in line with how people like this really act in real life. This would be a great example of an obsessed fan/stalker type thing gone awry.
See, Thomas has fixated a romantic interest on Angela. He made his move, albeit under the initial action of kidnapping and holding her hostage but, see to him, that’s the only way he could get her attention. Once he finally got her to sit with him and listen to him, she rebuffed him. Big mistake. He did NOT take this well and because he felt majorly insulted, he lost his cool completely. THIS is what most likely put Angela’s life in REAL DANGER. If she had played along with his delusion, she may very well have been able to build a rapport and trust and get him to take her out of the parking garage at some point where she would have a better chance to make a break for it. There’s little to no point in running away in a locked cage of sorts.
So, the creep factor was definitely there. And it was an easy movie to follow and it flowed very fast. The action kept things moving too. The acting was good. This was finally a role that the plastic bag guy (Bentley) could play and play well. He actually does “psychotic killer stalker” perfectly…should we be worried about that???
I’m not sure why this film has gotten such low review ratings. I mean, for crying out loud, even Roger Ebert liked it! Yet it only barely doubled its budget at the box office. I don’t get it. It’s not the typical psycho-thriller and it’s not the typical slasher film. It’s truly a good flick. That’s why I left off the ending again. This is another one I think you guys really ought to see yourselves. I didn’t want to ruin it for you.