Netflix Halloween 2014 : “ATM”

Posted: October 6, 2014 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Question : if you put three investment-banking assholes inside one of those shatterproof-glass ATM enclosures on a freezing cold night and start flooding the thing with water while a psychopath in a parka is waiting for them outside the door, which one of the greedy little pricks will die first?

The answer, of course, is “who cares?,” but that didn’t stop director David Books from basing an entire film — 2012’s ATM — around the premise, anyway.

Yes, friends, our scattershot survey of horror movies currently available via Netflix instant streaming during Halloween month now brings us to this little Winnipeg-filmed number, which features a Corey, a complete dickhead (as, I’m reliably informed, most Coreys tend to be — oh, and he’s played by one Josh Peck, if that matters to you),  his slightly-less-of-a-dickhead, buddy, David (Brian Geraghty), and the office hottie that David is trying to impress, Emily (Alice Eve) stuck inside a cash machine booth on Christmas Eve after their workplace holiday party, while a  nutjob in a heavy-duty winter coat (David O’Brian, who well and truly could simply be credited as “The Shape,” but that would be an insult to John Carpenter) stands right outside, just itchin’ to kill ’em all.

Now, I don’t know about you, but since the guy doesn’t appear to be carrying a gun or anything, I’d probably just take the three-against-one odds that were in my favor and jump the motherfucker, but then we wouldn’t have much of a movie, would we?

No, I suppose we wouldn’t — but given how the rest of ATM plays out, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.



Actually, the most fun to be had here is in cataloging the ways in which our protagonists could, indeed, escape — often with little or no trouble — but, fuck-ups that they are, they simply choose not to. I mean, seriously, the dude in the coat will disappear for several minutes on end, and these dumbshits still don’t make a break for it. And things inside that ATM booth get pretty dull pretty quickly. The only relief from the tedium is when some other unlucky clown in a nearly-identical parka enters the booth and the guys jump and kill him only to find they’ve murdered a perfectly innocent guy who just wanted to get a 20 dollar bill, and when our killer, having exhausted every other option in terms of getting these imbeciles on morgue slabs, decides, as mentioned earlier, to flood the place. But that all adds up to a grand total of about five exciting minutes in a 90-minute flick, and you don’t need me to tell you that just ain’t enough.


I’m all for horrors that are set in small, claustrophobic spaces and everything, but a semi-believable scenario is a must if they’re going to work, as is a competently-executed air of genuine menace, and this film has neither. Seriously, all that needs to happen here is for one — just one — of our captives to say “we’ve got numbers, we can take this guy,” and that’s it, end of story. Shit, they even get out of the booth once — and then go back in, Sounds preposterous, right? Rest assured, it absolutely is.


On the plus side — spoiler alert! — only one of them survives, and he has the murders of the others pinned on him, so he’ll be spending a good long time behind bars. Brooks probably doesn’t deserve a sentence nearly so harsh for the artistic crime of just directing a lousy movie, but let’s hope he’s not allowed anywhere near a camera again for any reason.

  1. Bryan F. Moose says:

    While I agree ATM has some issues, I thought the director did a decent job of ratcheting the suspense for a film w/a flimsy premise. The ending was well done and the acting was more than competent. Not a winner, but nowhere near as bad as you feel it is (in my opinion).

    • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

      Glad you enjoyed it more than I did, I just couldn’t get past what a filmy set-up the whole thing was based on, ratcheting up the tension is one thing, but when there doesn’t need to be any tension in the first place because it’s an easily-escapable situation? That’s like building a house on bad foundation.

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