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Booth's Blog: The rise of the 'One Room Horror'
By Emily Booth, Tuesday 17th January 2017
Emily Booth Seat SmallWe all know location, location, location is of paramount importance in Horror. The location of a film often dictates the story and the atmosphere, sometimes even becoming a character in itself (Overlook Hotel, anyone?!) But where do directors look to when every single location from house to windmill to lighthouse has already been done to death? They give themselves an even bigger challenge; contain the horror all inside one room, or one location. Strip away the layers of grand Guignol, impressive sets, and creepy traditional buildings, and place the emphasis of the terror on good script, acting, and tension; the raw ingredients of good horror. I imagine it also helps to cut the budget, too! The 'one room horror' has seen all manner of seemingly mundane locations become tools of terror, such as Elevator (2011), The Killing Room (2009), and to some extent, SAW (2004). One film which really took this to extreme levels was Buried (2010), starring Ryan Reynolds as the unfortunate 'buried' victim. Set entirely inside a coffin, the film completely centres the action around one very tight spot indeed, with a man taken hostage and buried alive with only a lighter and a mobile phone for company. The film was an instant hit with the critics, and its writer Chris Sparling was shortly asked to pen another claustrophobic flick, ATM, which just so happens to be our Network Film Premiere this Friday at 9pm.

ATMAs the title suggests, the film takes place almost entirely inside an isolated glass ATM cubicle on a desolate parking lot, which I think may be more of an American thing. The plot sees three bankers (Brian Geraghty, Alice Eve, Josh Peck) on their way home from an office Christmas Party when a casual stop at said ATM machine culminates in their unfortunate arrest inside. Their assailant is a parka-wearing psycho, his face always hidden, his motive never made clear, his next move unpredictable. Perhaps he wants to make a point about evil corporate bankers getting their just punishment? I can't say I blame him if that is indeed his motive, however this element is ambiguous. What follows is a tense cat and mouse game whereby the three are tormented inside an increasingly cold ATM booth, with every hope of help soon extinguished as the psychopath brutally murders any passing dog walker or policeman in front of their very eyes. Yes, this is a man with a plan as he fiddles with the ATM's temperature control, fills it with water, and other dastardly diaboliques! They should have stuck to online banking perhaps.

ATM is a smart claustrophobic and inventive thriller receiving its Network Premiere on Friday 20th January at 9pm.


Related show tags: ATM
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