FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 2, 2015

Day 2: ATM (2012)

The first time I read about ATM I thought "By golly, that sounds dopey." In the ensuing months, no one was talking about how it was surprisingly really great. No one has ever recommended that I watch it. So why, then, after a stellar SHOCKtober Day One would I opt for something that would likely be garbage at best? Because, you guys, I have been dying to see this. DYING TO I SAY. To me, ATM is the equivalent of, like, a 70 pound baby. A 70 pound baby?! No way! Where? I want to get a look at it. Oh. Huh, yeah, that's...that's a 70 pound baby all right. Look at it just lying there.

And so: a movie where people are forced to remain in an ATM kiosk and not let it drop below 50mph or else they will die?! This conceit is kept up through the whole film? No way! Where? I want to get a look at it.

I just...had to see how this would be done. I wanted to know how many times help would be right there, but oh no the killer is right behind you! Behind you! WHAT I CAN'T HEAR YOU! Behind you! Oh no, the help is dead! (SPOILER: that happens 1.5 times.) I wanted to know how many of them would decide FUCK IT and run for help and not make it for some reason, death or otherwise. (SPOILER: that happens 2 times.) I wanted to know how many times the situation would make stress levels rise SO HIGH that the little group would be on the verge of tearing itself apart. (SPOILER: that happens 1 time.) I simply had to see this 70 pound baby.

The action doesn't begin at the ATM, but rather in the high-rise offices of a banking firm. Yes, our protagonists are investment bankers! This really excited me because I can't think of anything I'd rather do than watch a movie about attractive, young, straight, white investment bankers. Okay, there's one thing I'd rather do, and that one thing is pound nails into my eyes. But just my luck, I'm all out of nails. That's a good thing, though, because it turns out that the three investment bankers are actually incredibly interesting:

  • one is the douchey one; if you couldn't tell this by his pomaded hair, then you'd be able to tell by the way he talks about women and the way he insults men by comparing them to women because women are the worst
  • one is the nice one, who feels bad about the way his job makes him sometimes, like, totally fuck over the working class by wiping out their savings
  • one is a girl
So there you go, a truly diverse group. Anyway, the douchey one's insistently douchey behavior leads the three to an ATM kiosk at one in the morning and once inside...a menacing man in a parka shows up in the parking lot and he...menaces them. He kills an innocent bystander walking his dog nearby–honestly, the good doggie acting is probably the highlight of ATM–and so the investment bankers are like, if he killed that guy, he'll kill us, too! And thus they are forced to remain inside the little glass cube as the temperature drops and the man continues to menace them.

Who is the mysterious menace? Is he an investment customer who lost his life savings thanks to these assholes? Is he a random wackadoo? Is he the spirit of Occupy Wall Street manifesting in weather-appropriate gear like a vengeful manitou for the 99%? Late in the movie, The Girl philosophizes that it's just, like, fate, you know? How you make a million little decisions in your life only to end up menaced in an ATM kiosk in the wee hours. 

Yes, ATM really makes you think. All those little decisions you make in your life, only to end up watching ATM in the wee hours. And you may ask yourself...where does that highway go to? And you may ask I right? Or am I wrong? And you may tell God! What have I done?!

I suppose, however, that I was "entertained." I laughed frequently at the sheer ridiculousness of the entire thing, and I admit that I did want to see how it all turned out. I mean, you can't get mad at the 70 pound baby when you see it and it just lies there–what did you expect? And so I can't get mad at ATM for being as mind-bogglingly stupid as I figured it would be. You do you, ATM. You do you.

"I'm like...way scared right now."

Tomorrow's movie: Baby Blues (2013) - you had me at "sinister-looking doll"!


Jason Adams said...

I felt much the same way (from what i remember - I literally haven't thought about this movie once in the years since I saw it) - I remember reading all the bad reviews and not thinking it was worth all the hate; yeah it's dumb as dumb gets and yeah these are terrible people you want to see die, but... wait, where I was going? Ah right yeah it was strangely compelling, seeing where they took the ridiculousness, and I made it through the whole thing. Put that on the poster -- "You'll probably make it through the whole thing!" says Jason Adams.

Stacie Ponder said...

Exactly! I just had to see where it would go. It is not a good movie, but I do give it points for its moxie.

Jennifer M. said...

I 100% agree with everything in your review. And the ENDING! Ugh... The effing ending was so annoying. Don't we at least get an explanation behind it, a motive?? Nope, just some jack ass being weird because he can - a la The Visitors. It's so unsatisfying. I gave it two stars since I actually made it to the end of the movie and didn't feel the urge to turn it off or give up. But I was grimacing the whole time. I can't believe they were actually about to start making out when there's a dead guy lying on the floor in front of them. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?? And the credits were crazy long. A *LOT* of people worked on this thing. We could've sent the money used on this movie and the 8,000 crew members' paychecks to feed a small village in Africa, but no - this movie was just too important.

Stacie Ponder said...


Ben Newman said...

The flophouse podcast did a great ATM episode if you're into that sort of thing:

originalslugboy said...

I don't understand. Why didn't they just borrow Jill Goodacre's phone to call Ross & Joey?

And now Days Go By will run through my head the rest of the night. Unsarcastic thanks!