ATM (2012)

Director:  David Brooks
Cast:  Alice EveJosh Peck, Brian Geraghty
Plot:  On a late night visit to an ATM, three co-workers end up in a desperate fight for their lives when they become trapped by an unknown man.

Genre:  Horror / Thriller
Awards:  -
Runtime:  90min
Rating:  PG13 for violence and terror. 

With a movie title like ATM, half of the battle is already lost to win the minds of moviegoers who probably know that this horror-thriller flick is gonna suck their hard-earned wad big time.

It's a high-concept movie  - a trio of colleagues visit an ATM in a secluded parking lot in the dead of the night only to find themselves trapped by an unknown man - but suffers the ignominy of having possibly one of the worst-written screenplays of the year. 

Now, this is extremely surprising because the writer Chris Sparling previously penned Buried (2010), a suspenseful film starring Ryan Reynolds as a man who wakes up to find himself trapped in a makeshift coffin buried deep in the ground. While Buried was a Hitchcockian exercise on building dread, ATM is a dreadful exercise on building... what?

No one knows. No one cares.

It's a B-movie masquerading as a serious horror-thriller. It tries too hard to impress when something more campy would have given the film a lift. A lift is what's needed because the movie is so lacklustre. The direction by David Brooks may be textbook stuff, but to his credit, he tries to liven up his movie with a couple of deftly-executed 'cat and mouse' set pieces.

Still, the film's plot holes are gaping wide - you have to see to believe them, but beware, they may swallow you whole. Some of the characters' actions and reactions to their situation also remain implausible, occasionally borne out of human stupidity more than anything else. Worse, the villain is one-dimensional, and even by the end of the picture, we aren't sure what he's up to.

No one knows. No one cares.

Verdict: A contender for one of the worst screenplays of the year, this is one ATM that not only doesn't dispense your money, but sucks it.

GRADE: F (3.5/10 or 1.5 stars)

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daniel said…
Are you obliged to watch such movies, since you are doing cinema studies? And do you show your movie reviews to your class?
Eternality said…
Hmm, are you referring to ATM? For that, I reviewed because I caught its media preview. And no, I don't actively show my reviews to my class.
daniel said…
What I meant was do you select which films in cinemas to watch and review based on your personal choice? Are you made to watch and review a specific film for your class? Doesnt your class require you to write reviews for the latest movies or even the classics?
Eternality said…
Hmm... I select films in cinemas to review based on a mathematical formula. I don't review films for class. In fact, I started reviewing films years before I took any module related to cinema. I still strongly believe the best way to explore cinema is through one's own, and not by taking a cinema studies module (which makes watching films less enjoyable).
daniel said…
"on a mathematical formula"... I thought a cinephile would naturally seek out the good movies and try as far as possible to avoid the bad ones. I remember seeing the trailer of this movie before watching The Raid. Everyone was laughing their asses off after the trailer ended. Even the trailer's a fail...Lol!
Eternality said…
Yes. I avoid the bad ones at all costs. But don't get me wrong, I reviewed ATM as part of work.
Eternality, what movies have you ever created, be they a screen write, a production, a direct or even an actor in? Who are you to watch a movie and then try to add some sort of educated guess as to what is happening in the heads of the characters?

How many hundreds of thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours of acting by takes and re_takes have you partaken in? How many countless hours have you sat in the casting trailers waiting for one scene to be filmed? How many times have you been called to location just to sit and wait for hours on end and have nothign happen iwth your character and have to wait for another day to shoot your scene?

Just wondering where you get off trying to tell the professionals how to do their job when you don't know how to do it in the first place?

Eternality said…
Hi Jeremiah, thank you for your comment.

Two points from me and some statistics:

1. I am a reviewer, not a filmmaker. If I were to rate every film based on effort alone, they would get a 10 from me. But then I will cease to become a reviewer. I write for moviegoing readers. They want to know if a movie is good or bad. In my opinion, ATM is bad. If I say it is good, I will be deceiving myself and my readers. Then I would not be an ethical reviewer.

2. I always believe that professional filmmakers have an obligation to make good films, or at least something that is worth catching, considering the time, effort, and money that are put in. If a film turns out bad, something must have gone wrong. In ATM's case, the poor screenplay is the major cause of the film's downfall. I have friends who are filmmakers, and I understand that making a film is tough. If a film turns out bad, it is up to the professional filmmakers to decide whether to discontinue filmmaking (because they are not cut out for it), or to take it as a learning experience and make a better follow-up film.

Some statistics for ATM:
IMDB: 4.7/10
Metacritic: 34/100
Rotten Tomatoes: 10% (Avg. rating 4/10)
Movieline: 4/10
Indiewire: C-
A.V Club: D
MovieXclusive: 2.5/5 stars

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