Ok, let’s get the introduction out of the way.
It’s directed by newcomer David Brooks, by a screenplay from Chris Sparling, who will never work in Hollywood again.
I love horror, I do.
Accepting that it can be over the top is no problem for me, that people make wrong decisions in order to keep the horror coming? fine.
But there are borders, even though they are hard to reach, they are there. And ATM, which should stand for Abysmal Time (at the) Movies, manages to make the borders of what is acceptable look like a dot, somewhere far on the horizon.
If you’re going to make a standard horror, having likeable characters is really the first essential thing to your movie. “ATM” concerns itself with the misadventures of three co-workers who, after attending a company Christmas party, decide to head home for the evening. David (Brian Geraghty) offers to give his would-be girlfriend Emily (Alice Eve) a lift home, an invitation that is accepted by his intoxicated and highly obnoxious friend Corey (Josh Peck). After pestering the hell out of David to find him something to eat, Corey insists that the trio swing by the nearest ATM so he can procure some cash. Thankfully, there just happens to be such a machine located inside a tiny glass structure in the middle of a deserted parking lot. How brutally convenient!
Before you can loudly scream “Big mistake!” at the television screen, a sinister-looking individual wearing a creepy parka begins skulking about the parking lot. At first, our heroes think that he’s just some unstable homeless guy looking for a Christmas Eve hand-out, that is, until he nonchalantly beats a guy to death right before their very eyes. Although his intentions are never completely revealed, the trio suspects that he wants to rob the ATM, and he’s waiting for one of them to make a mistake so he can sneak inside. Thus begins a rather uneventful game of cat and mouse, one that involves lots of bickering, finger-pointing, and ice water. Lots and lots of ice water. And you thought ATM service charges were a headache.
All of these characters are hugely unlikeable, and the amount of stupidity in their decision making is baffling.
So there’s a dude outside ( no visible weapon at all ) and they decide to stay in the booth where he can’t reach them ( since it can only open with a bankcard, something thats unknown in Europe btw ). Yet, when an individual walks into the booth who looks a bit like him, what do they do? Ofcourse, they kill him!
And naturally, once they’ve taken a good breath after doing so, they stand up to find that the killer is still there.
At this point, you are just rooting for the guy to kill them off, my entire cinema was cheering when one of them finally met his end.
The most stupendous part of it all comes near the end though. In, what screenwriter Chris Sparling must have found to be a brilliant chain of events, the dying moments of the movie, the police finally arrives and arrests the only remaining survivor. Rewatching all the footage from the booth shows him to be the suspect of the murders and he’s thrown into jail, with an ending montage seeing the killer plotting his next target by finding out how he can stay off camera. So what’s stupendous about it? Maybe the fact that when our poor dude is being ‘framed’ for the murders, the camera shows someone driving a car into the booth? Destroying the back of the booth and filling it up with ice water? Having 2 dead corpses outside without him ever leaving the booth? Or maybe the fact that they are consistently seen on camera while they are looking and pointing at something outside. No, stupid me, why would that cause any questions with the police? Naturally, when someone is offing their friends, he gets them into a ATM booth and kills them off one by one on camera!
Why would they stay inside the booth?
Enough is enough, Hollywood can do whatever they want, give me 100 characters explaining the plot to me, and they may even do a Scary Movie 5 (which isn’t even a joke, THAT’s happening as we speak) but you may not crap on my brain with this huge amount of inadequacies. I hope the original negatives of this movie are found, collected and burnt. By me.