What’s the most frightening thing for a horror film? A serial killer? A killer car? Feral children? Those are all likely subjects but I’m sure an ATM would be nowhere on your list which is what makes the concept of ATM (2012) so interesting. Three friends after coming home from a party decide to stop at a twenty-four ATM machine and are held under siege by a man in a winter overcoat. Siege films are nothing new (just look at The Strangers or John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness) but this film is really a pressure cooker of a suspense thriller. Siege films work when the suspense starts but never stops such as Buried (2010) or Phone Booth (2002) and that’s exactly how ATM is.
What the film lacks in originality it excels in execution. Chris Sparling’s screenplay does a good job of establishing the characters early on before all hell breaks loose and the fact that the motives of the tormentor is questionable builds tension. What will turn off most people will be the apparent lack of originality with the film but director David Brooks manages to put together a pretty decent thriller.
This type of thriller is very common as it requires a single location for most of the run time of the film and a limited amount of actors which works in this film due to the talented cast and Brooks’ direction. For fans of thrillers this is a film right up your alley. After watching this film going to the ATM in the middle of the night will have you thinking otherwise.