Like Phone Booth, Tower Block, Devil or The Hole the premise of ATM is starkly simple and scintillatingly scary. Three people are trapped in an ATM booth with a maniac outside and no means of escape.
Those three people start the night in a very different way as accountant David (True Blood’s Brian Geraghty) finally gets the courage up to ask out his office crush co-worker Emily (Alice Eve from Star Trek Into Darkness and The Raven) at the staff Christmas party.
His offer of a romantic ride home is gatecrashed by his annoying friend Corey (Red Dawn’s Josh Peck) who insists the threesome stop off for food and cash along the way. This simple detour is the worst decision of their lives as once inside the isolated ATM booth they spot a hooded figure watching them from the darkness.
Waiting motionlessly this unknown assailant takes the threat level up a bloody notch when they brutally murder a dog walker who is passing by proving to the trio inside the ATM that this psycho means them plenty of harm.
However they have no idea of the terrible and terrifying ordeal the maniac is about to put them through or the reasons why they have been singled out for this night of torture. Is it simply bad luck or something more only time will tell but sadly its time they don’t have.
Although a non-American audience may not be accustomed to the lone ATM booths that populate parts of the US, the set-up of Chris Sparling’s story is straight forward enough that we soon understand and in the hands of the man who penned the amazing claustrophobic horror Buried there is plenty of potential transforming what appears to be a easily escapable situation into an urban nightmare.
From the excellent character crafting opening which perfectly introduces us to each individual, ATM is brilliantly written packing in plenty of twists and turns along the way to keep you enthralled and on the edge of your seat with what will happen to the helpless threesome who dangle on a serrated string for the hooded psychopath puppet master who seemingly controls all the elements.
First time feature director David Brooks does a great job creating and keeping the tension high as do the cast who you genuinely care about and whose realistic insecurities and infighting turn the ATM into a pressure cooker of emotion and violence making them as vulnerable inside with each other as they are outside against the killer.
Offering up a ‘what would you do?’ story that captures any audiences imagination (even one without ATM kiosks) this is a cracking movie full of nasty violence, plenty of traps and tricks and a frightening faceless killer toying with the main trio meaning that for horror fans ATM pays out big time.