Three idiots go for a drive. When they realize they need money to fund their stupidity, they stop at an ATM. At that very same ATM, a killer tries to do the world a favor. The end.
When I saw that ATM was written by Chris Sparling (Buried), I was hopeful. Much hype surrounded the announcement of the film’s release, which naturally piqued my curiosity.
Damn my curiosity.
I would have been better off watching Maury Povich talk with teenage prostitutes about who did or did not father their bastard children. Maury Povich certainly provides a more engaging viewing experience to his audience.
The premise of ATM is interesting. When I first heard about the plot, I thought it sounded like it had great potential. I usually like “contained” horror films and thrillers. Buried was great, and, although far from perfect, I enjoyed some of the elements of Phone Booth. With better actors, a different director, and a more fleshed out script, ATM might have even been a good movie. Having none of those things, really sealed the film’s fate as a giant pile of shit.
There was minimal character development in ATM. The actors weren’t skilled enough to pull off likeable performances without the benefit of any kind of back story. As a result, I ended up hating all of them. The performances are stilted and forced. The characters don’t grow, learn any life lessons, or do anything noteworthy.
The casting of Josh Peck is a decision that I cannot wrap my brain around. Was the casting director so impressed with Peck’s performance on Drake and Josh that he or she said, “We’ve got to have that guy”? Josh Peck’s character is the most loathsome and despicable of the bunch. His performance really forces the audience to root for his demise.
The killer is a total dick. We are given no insight in to the cause of his homicidal urges. He has no back story. I was left asking myself, “What the f**k?” when the end credits rolled. It’s customary for the viewing audience to be given an explanation for why the killer does what they do. In ATM, we don’t get that. That lack of information, among other things, left me feeling like I had wasted my time. Part of the reason I love horror films is the obligatory discovery of why the killer does the sick and twisted things that he or she does. Opting to gloss over that really worked to ATM‘s disadvantage. Beyond that, the ending was really dissatisfying for other reasons, as well. I don’t want to give any awesome details away, suffice it to say, it did not leave the viewer feeling that justice had been served, on any level.
Director David Brooks failed to impress me with his feature directorial debut. He wasn’t able to get any passion or conviction from any member of his cast. He settled for two dimensional performances and that really inhibits my interest in seeing any more of his work.
The dialogue in ATM is awful, too. The script tries to be hip and ironic but it fails miserably. It’s chock full of sophomoric meathead jokes that aren’t funny. Lines like, “Hey, man. Close your legs I can see your vagina” were not only not funny, they were poorly executed by the less than talented cast.
ATM was really predictable. The whole film was very formulaic and uninspired. Every twist that the film threw out was obvious enough that anyone with a partially functional brain and their eyes open could see them coming, well in advance.
This movie actually has zero redeeming qualities. Out of the entire 91 minutes, I can’t recall a single segment of the film that I enjoyed or found value in. I was sorely disappointed, as I was hoping to see some new life breathed in to the slasher genre. Unfortunately, what we got was a poorly-constructed, unoriginal, and predictable, disposable entry in the horror film genre.
ATM is currently available via VOD. It will receive a limited theatrical run on April 6th. However, I wouldn’t even think about watching this movie unless your hate yourself, love wasting money and want to be punished for 91 minutes.