ATM (2012) movie review

Director: David Brooks

Writer: Chris Sparling

Starring: Josh Peck, Alice Eve, Brian Geraghty

Rating: R

Synopsis: 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.

In my search for some brand-new horror, sometimes I turn to my favorite horror podcast:  The Fearshop.com horror podcast (available free at iTunes, or through their Facebook page). The 2 hosts of the show, Frank and Mike, review movies of all decades. Mike was kind enough to inform me of ATM, a movie that is currently On Demand. As a warning, if after reading this review you head off to rent this, make sure you check the price. This is currently $9.99 per rental because it is available before it is even in theaters.

Obviously, one can determine from the synopsis that this is going to be a movie that has a small cast, and is at one main location. So if you are looking for a movie that has a thought provoking plot, many complex characters, and lots of beautiful scenery, you may want to pass on visiting ATM. The worst aspect of ATM is the story. This movie had the potential to be so much more, but it reminded me of some bad Swiss cheese due to all of the holes in the plot. Let me begin with the good…

I actually went fanboy when I saw Josh Peck was one of the stars. Before you roll your eyes, I have a son who loved Drake and Josh, the show that aired on Nickelodeon. I always considered Josh Peck to be a great young actor, he delivered his lines perfectly, whether comedic or serious. So it was nice to see him mature into such a handsome young man, I almost didn’t recognize him. He played the role of Corey in the movie, a co-worker of the other 2 characters, who is a mooch, obnoxious, and arrogant. The guy you love to hate. He played it to perfection. Brian Geraghty plays David, who is smitten with a beautiful co-worker named Emily, who is played by Alice Eve. It begins innocently enough, Corey convinces David to ask Emily out, it is her last day at the office, and the Christmas party they are having that night will be the last time he sees her. Emily is trying to hail a taxi to leave, David gets enough balls to finally ask her out, and offers to take her home. Corey ends up bumming a ride, even though he lives in the other direction, and the trio head off. Being the constant pain in the ass, Corey wants to stop and get something to eat, but needs to stop by the ATM for a cash run. David obliges him, swings by the ATM, and then all hell breaks loose.

Eek. I am terrified by the anonymous hooded killer.

First, some people will have trouble believing the ATM location will be so barren. Let me say this: the area I live in is a cliche for horror movies. The town shuts down at 5, where I work you get NO cellphone service, and when you do, it’s spotty at best. So I am used to the fact that ATM locations are in the dark, off the road, and frankly creepy as hell. There are still places like that out there, so this is something that can happen, not too much suspension of disbelief there. I mentioned the good part of the movie being the acting. This is where it becomes important. The story, even though a tad believable, causes you to curse the writer under your breath several times. These poor actors are doing the best they can, they make the characters completely believable, but their choices are thoroughly unbelievable. The killer is supposed to be menacing in his parka, but that outfit has been used a little too much in other horror flicks. At the end of this, we get a shot of the crowd, and everyone in the damn town has the same parka! It gets cold where I live, but there is a large variety of jackets people wear, for Pete’s sake. But, I can overlook that. The actions of the killer, however, and the idiotic choices of the characters are unforgivable.

The atmosphere, on the other hand, was perfect. It made me feel as if I were with the characters in the dark, suffering with them in the biting cold. The movie itself was shot beautifully, it conveyed through it’s imagery everything it needed to. That is what frustrated me so badly about ATM, the only thing missing was one of the most important aspects, a strong story. I keep pounding that point home, because it’s impossible to get past it.

The ending of ATM is almost laughable, I hope and pray to the horror gods that there will be no sequel to this. I have no desire to learn more about the hooded killer, why he does what he does and where he will go next. I really feel that this could have been a great film, with some tweaks to the story. The poor actors, who acted their asses off in this, tried to do the best with what they were given. Kudos to them. ATM is a film I wish I would have waited for the DVD release of. This movie is worth at least a watch, but certainly not at theater price. If Josh Peck ever reads this, you are made for roles like this. Come to the dark side of cinema, my friend.

Rating: 5 out of 10 stars. Had there been for a better story, this could have easily been an 8. Such a shame.

Reviewed by: Michelle Barkley

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6 Responses

  1. MARK

    That movie could have been better. It could have reach an 8 or 8.5 on 10, but now it is barrely a 3. The beginning is good, the actors give theirs 100% (they make it plausible), the idea is good. But and it is a big BUT the conclusion is stupid, make no sense, lead nowhere. I watch a good suspence for nothing, I lost my time. It is a fact that the screenwriter get so f… lazy at the end. I could a done a way better ending then this, even a sequel TOO BAD it is a rotten tomato. But hey, if you don’t care about the end it’s a good movie 3/4 of it.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:28 am

  2. Earl Andrew

    I hate this movie. Very tragic movie!!! :/

    March 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  3. Chesa

    I didn’t think it was complete shit, but I also will not be watching it again or recommending it. The ending was retarded. Obvious opening for a sequel. Like you said it could have been great, to bad. Thanks for the review! :)

    March 7, 2012 at 2:09 am

  4. Michelle Barkley

    It is a shame that a movie like this fell apart due to a horrible story. It is frustrating that this could have been a great movie, one I would recommend or rewatch, like Chesa mentioned. The good thing to come out of this is I will be watching for those 3 particular actors in future movies, they all did great.

    March 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  5. scott

    While I agree that the plot was a bit lacking, I would still recommend this movie. I think it was a poor/homeless-man’s version of Adam Green’s “Frozen” with a splash of “Panic Room”. The performances were generally solid, the atmosphere was tense and the killer was relatively menacing. Wait till the price drops from $9.99- but it’s definitely worth 90 minutes of your life if you are a fan of the genre.

    7/10

    March 9, 2012 at 5:22 am

  6. sean

    Just watched this movie, loved it.
    It is definetly in my opinion 8/10 stars.
    I LOVE HORROR, but this movie wasn’t that scary. Josh is awesome, as always in this movie =)

    November 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm

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