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Stars: Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley

Director: Franck Khalfoun

Angie (Nichols) is working late on Christmas Eve. And, this being a suspense thriller, we all know she isn't going to make it home. Her car won't start. The night security guard, Tom (Bentley) can't help, so Angie has to go to the lobby for a taxi. The cab comes but the building is in lockdown and Angie can't get out, or attract the night watchman, who later makes a dramatic re-appearance - as a corpse.

Our heroine soon finds herself the captive of the deranged Tom. Having dressed up in the Santa costume she's bought for her family, he strips her to her slip (or is that a white dress he puts on her?), chains her up and tells her, when she recovers consciousness: 'I didn't mean to scare you.' Yeah right.

The whole set-up of the plot is absurd, and the dialogue rarely worth more than a chuckle; but the actual tension of the film is very well sustained, especially as the cast consists of little more than two people.

'D'ya wanna say grace or shall I?' asks Bentley, running in the bloody footsteps of film fiends down the decades who wanted the heroine but couldn't have her, He's upset, though, when she escapes and dispatches his killer dog. 'Why would you kill a poor defenceless animal?' he moans. And, later, trapping her in a flooded lift: 'You're trying to get me fired, aren't you?' He doesn't know how right he is.

Yes, there's uneasy giggles a-plenty here and lots of excitement too, though some male cinemagoers may be too busy looking at Nichols' well-displayed cleavage to catch all the thrills. It's her sustained nerve-ends performance, though, plus the director's unwillingness to offer us any respite, that keeps the tension bowstring-tight throughout.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Tartan. Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 27 Apr 2008