Directed by David Brooks & with a very small cast (Brian Geraghty, Alice Eve, Josh Peck), ATM sees three people trapped inside an ATM booth by a hooded psycho.
The movie opens introducing David (Brain Geraghty) & Corey (Josh Peck), two stock-brokers. At the Christmas party afterwards, David gets the courage to ask out his colleague, Emily (Alice Eve) and offers to drive her home. She agrees but Corey insists on coming with them as David is his ride.
On the drive, Corey continues to be a serious ‘third wheel’ eventually forcing David to stop near an ATM booth so he can get money out to buy a pizza.
Early on the movie establishes who we as viewers should like. At the start we overhear Corey telling a person on the phone that he lost most of their money in the most uncaring way possible. That combined with his third wheel, cheap-skate behaviour results in a character that is genuinely unlikable.
While David is portrayed as caring, willing to go the extra mile & Emily is sweet, friendly and clearly harbouring feelings for David too. You’d think that would make them more likeable but they’re fairly bland so you’re unlikely to care about anything that happens to them.
So, Corey gestures them to come into the ATM where he reveals his card isn’t working. They turn to leave & see a hooded man standing some distance from the door. They’re instantly spooked by it & when they open the door he takes a step forward towards them. It’s quite a tense scene as you the trio wonder what the person wants & debate on if they should just leave.
They eventually decide that he must be looking to rob the ATM as you need a card to actually enter the booth. That is until they witness him killing a person walking a dog. Trapped inside, the trio desperately try to figure a way for them to escape alive.
ATM is a solid enough horror/thriller with an imaginative idea that is harmed by some unfortunate errors. For starters, the characters are nothing special & the actors wring as much as they can out of them. The initial logic surrounding not going out to face the killer begins to fall apart as things get more desperate. You can’t help but believe that in this situation three against one would embolden them to try. Unfortunately Alice Eve’s character Emily is portrayed as pretty useless here.
A lot of what happens in ATM requires massive coincidences or minor characters behaving oddly. David & Corey end up killing a man who enters the ATM booth believing him to be the killer from outside. Why? He’s wearing the same hooded jacket. I mean what are the chances? Not only that, but the man doesn’t say a word even before they start strangling him.
A patrolling security officer drives by but at some distance then later comes back & gets out of his car some distance away again! It’s infuriating.
The movie does throw in a fun twist ending & spends a minute or two showing you just how said twist works. What is a surprise though is that the killer is kept in the dark. I was expecting a rubbish reveal but we never see his face. Instead what you see is his office as he plans out another attack.
Far better than expected, it’s just a pity the massive logic jumps & coincidences require far too much detachment to really let slide.