Movie Reviews

‘ATM’: Transaction denied

By Wang DexianMovies - 23 May 2012 12:00 AM

‘ATM’: Transaction denied

From the writer of 'Buried' comes this horror-thriller about three co-workers trapped in an ATM booth by a deadly stranger

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Rating: 1 star out of 5

The Cast: Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty

The Buzz: Remember ‘Buried’, the film with Ryan Reynolds trapped underground in a wooden coffin with limited time to escape? Yeah, sure you do.

ATM’ (not to be confused with a recent Thai movie of the same name) is writer Chris Sparling's newest offering. Also, hot babe Alice Eve, who was last seen playing the girl out of Jay Baruchel's reach in ‘She's Out Of My League’ stars as the love interest here.

The Story: Boy, David (Brian Geraghty), likes girl, Emily (Alice Eve). Boy's best friend, Corey (Josh Peck), goads him into talking to her. Boy flirts with girl, awkwardly.

Just when David gets his chance to give Emily a lift home, Corey jumps back in and blocks him from the conquest of his dreams.

Also read: The decade’s 5 scariest Hollywood horrors

Corey ruins the night further by wanting to get a pizza, but doesn't have any cash on him. The three of them head to an ATM booth in the middle of nowhere, which just happens to be in the middle of nowhere and haunted by a serial killer on the outside. Uh oh. thinks: If you read the above story summary, you'd have probably thought the same thing we did. That doesn't make any sense. It's a pretty contrived manner to get people into a place, trap them there and then allow a serial killer to go to work. Chris Sparling's attempt to create something similar to ‘Buried’ comes at the expense of simple logic, and that is ultimately the film's fundamental flaw.

The art of movies generally work on a basic principle, called “suspension of belief”. And that is lacking in ‘ATM’. First of all, Peck’s character Corey goads David into talking to Emily, and then basically abandons all thought that went into his subsequent actions. Also, a banker not having any money?

These three probably haven't heard of ATM alarm systems

What's worse? Two bankers not having money or a credit card to pay for a pizza. None of the set up makes any sense, and this especially shows when the trio are stuck in the booth. Yes, in case you're wondering, they go out... to use an ATM without their phones, purses and what not. The basic lack of any common sense whatsoever in these characters make ‘ATM’ an extremely frustrating watch and halfway through -- you just don't care anymore.

Also read:Worst places to be stranded at in a horror movie

As it stands already, the film would work more effectively as a comedy, with its plot shifts seemingly coming out of nowhere. The film tries desperately to salvage itself with a few nasty kills, but to no avail. The illogical story renders any death with a simple shrug; and probably followed by you wishing that all the characters die already just so the movie would end quickly. And the utterly ludicrous actions of the characters are only made worse by the fact that they're so bland and lack any chemistry.

As you can probably tell by now, ‘ATM’ is a film that's full of face-palm worthy moments. Granted, it has a vaguely scary idea, but that interesting premise is quickly wasted by the complete lack of any sense in the movie, leading to a void of terror. Instead, the scares that should have been here have been replaced a multitude of laughs. Not a good thing.

‘ATM’ opens in theatres on 24 May


Dexian or just Dex if you have an inability to pronounce Chinese names, is a fervent film lover who's known to read up on the most inane pieces of cinema trivia just so he has something to talk about when he's drunk. When he's not watching something, he can be found reading other useless Wikipedia articles on things like Nebulaphobia.