The Horror Honeys: Your Money, Or Your Life...

Your Money, Or Your Life...

A Slasher Honey Holiday Horror Review by Chassity

ATM (2012)

Okay. Here’s the deal: you’d be hard pressed to find any person who loves Christmas, or for that matter, winter itself, more than I do. Ever since I was a little kid, I loved all the holiday traditions: decorating, baking, waiting up for Santa, and especially curling up in pajamas and a blanket with hot chocolate and snacks to watch a good, classic feel-good holiday movie. 

Now that I’m all grown up, that last tradition has changed a little bit. The days of warm and fuzzy Christmas movie viewings are over; now there’s nothing I love more than watching horror movies at the holidays. Particularly ones that have anything to do with the holiday, or are set around the winter/Christmas season. So I was thrilled when my brother led me to ATM. Well, thrilled and skeptical at the same time. 

ATM is by far nothing ground-breaking in the world of horror, but it is one of the most bone-chilling movies I’ve seen in the past few years. As I’ve said before, what scares me isn’t the gore or disturbing visual stuff: it’s things that are real and are creepy because they could actually happen to me. And that’s why this movie sort of got to me.

The Story: Two dudebros attend a work Christmas party where one dudebro encourages the other to make a move on the blonde woman he’s been eerily stalking at the office. This leads to him asking to give her a ride home, and the friend decides to come with to be a third-wheel nuisance. On the ride home they stop at a closed off ATM to get cash so the friend can get some pizza, and find themselves trapped there as a relentless, methodical, maniacal man waits outside the ATM vestibule to kill them should they exit: a man who’s face they never actually even get to see.

The film definitely has its issues. The guys in it are typical 20-something males trapped in their frat boy days, and neither one of them is really that clever or likable (at least, not in the beginning), as they both prove once the action and suspense start. My big issue with the film is how annoying it is that the woman who’s the object of affection for Dudebro #1 is the driving force of the action in the movie-meaning that everything that leads them to the ATM where their lives are changed wouldn’t have happened had it not for her being pursued by Dudebro #1.

That didn’t sit right with me; something about it made me  angry because I kind of got the feeling it was almost sending a “women are evil, and this is what even wasting your time trying to pursue them can lead to” kind of message. But hey, maybe that’s just the hardcore feminist in me reading too much into it. 

But at the end of that day, this is a really entertaining movie that sucks you in, keeps you focused in that I-can’t-look-away kind of way, and is gut-wrenching at its core. There are a few surprising moments, and what made me fall for this movie is how things just keep getting worse and worse, and how that tied me to these people emotionally. 

Josh Peck is one of ATM's stars, and as a child of the 90s, I grew up as a fan of his. I will say this: he’s pretty much the best thing about the film. I never would have guessed, in the days of watching him on the shows I liked as a child, that I would ever be surprised by how talented he really is, but he’s…really, really good in this movie. One minute I hated his character, and the next I actually felt sorry for him. 

I really, really love the fact that this movie is set at Christmas time. It’s an interesting contrast to have a movie that is so tragic, sad, and creepy, with the backdrop of what has always been the most bright, magical time of the year for so many people. It’s supposed to be the season of hope, but this movie is all about three people who find themselves in an increasingly hopeless situation.