Film Review “ATM”

Directed by: David Brooks
Starring: Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty, Ashvin Singh
Distributed by: IFC Midnight
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 90 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Who knew that a film focusing around being stalked in an ATM booth would work as a premise for a film. Well it does…more the most part. This film is a billed a horror yet falls more in the line of thriller. If you are aware of the film “Buried”, starring Ryan Reynolds, where he spends the whole film in a coffin, well this film is written by the same guy Chris Sparling. Well either way, the idea works and definitely creates some great suspense for the first 40 minutes or so. As the film goes on though, it seems like to loose its draw and doesn’t really pack a strong pay-off at the end.

The premise for this film is extremely simple. It follows three co-workers who stop at an ATM on the way home from an office party. The three co-workers soon find that they are unable to leave this ATM booth since they are being stalked by a crazy man in a hoodie. They end up fighting for their lives and search desperately for a way to escape this booth before it is too late.

“ATM” is the directorial debut from David Brooks and definitely shows potential for him. Going back to “Buried” for a minute, this film packs a lot less terror than being buried alive. This is what the film lacks…the terror. The performances from Josh Peck, Alice Eve And Brian Geraghty are decent though and since the film is just them, they definitely carry the film well. I wish there was more back story revealed throughout the film, I think it could have given the characters more depth. Overall it is worth checking out if you are a horror fan. Kudos to IFC Midnight for giving this film a theatrical release.


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David Brooks talks new horror/thriller “ATM”

David Brooks is the director of the new horror/thriller “ATM”. The film is also David’s feature directorial debut. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about the film and what he has planned next.

MS: You’ve done a couple of short films but “ATM” is your first feature. How did you get involved with the project?
DB: I’m good friends with Peter Safran, who co-produced “Buried,” which was (writer) Chris Sparling’s other feature. He had seen the short I had done coming out of NYU called “Gone.” He really liked it. He was working on the post-production of “Buried.” I read the (“ATM”) script and really just started badgering him. I then started working on a draft of the script with Chris…that was the gestation of it.

MS: “ATM” takes place pretty much AT an ATM. How were you able to build and sustain the suspense in what is pretty much a one set film?
DB: It’s certainly a challenge for sure. But I think that was one of the things that brought me to the project…to have to figure out how to do that. For me it was about getting the right amount of balance between the perspectives. Essentially we have three characters inside a vestibule and a man outside. So a lot of the tension comes from playing between the perspectives. Them inside. He outside. Then within those I try to play with who is seeing what at what moment. At times you may think you’re looking through the man’s purview from outside and then he steps through the frame. It’s just a matter of continually finding ways to keep the audience unsettled. That was the goal and we do that with the shifting perspectives.

MS: You’re working with a pretty young cast. How were they to work with?
DB: Really, really fantastic. I was really lucky to cast all three of them. It was really great for me as a first time feature director to be working with such talents. They were all very special…they all brought something unique to their characters. We all decided that we would work hard and they answered the challenge.

MS: You edited commercials as well as most of your earlier film work. Editing seems to be, from Robert Wise to Martin Scorsese, an almost perfect segue into directing. Did that experience help you when you set up your shots and planned on where to put the camera?
DB: It was a natural progression. Working on a low budget film, especially one as intimate as this one, it was a great opportunity for me to bring my comfort in the editing room to the table. That definitely was a big part of it.

MS: The film is currently available on Video on Demand and opens on April 6th. What is the release schedule like? Are you opening wide or just hoping to start small and build on word of mouth?
DB: We’re going to start limited and hopefully grow from there. We’re getting great response on the VOD. People are getting a chance to see the film. I believe we’re starting out in six cities, expanding to six more the following week and hopefully growing from there. I think for a small movie that people are able to see it on VOD. But I want people to get that big screen theatre experience…I hope they decide to see it in the cinema as soon as possible!

MS: Do you have your next project lined up?
DB: That’s a good question (laughs). I’m working on a few things but for the most part really I’m just reading scripts and trying to find my next thing. The short answer is I’m not sure but hopefully I’ll know soon enough.