Can ATM provide a suspenseful thriller?

Posted by David Konow

Years before it finally got made, Phone Booth was one of the hottest scripts in Hollywood, simply because many considered it a great idea for a movie. 



Essentially, a guy's trapped in a phone booth by a mad assassin on the other end of the line who's got a gun aimed at him. 

In the original script, you never saw the lunatic on the other end of the line, and being trapped in an isolated little space like that was a great idea for a suspense thriller.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, screenwriter Larry Cohen said he was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, saying that after making so many big, epic thrillers like North By Northwest he would one day make a movie in a phone booth.

So while cruising the 'Net, I saw a story on Movieline about a "single location thriller" called ATM, and apparently it's the same kind of idea, several people in an ATM, and they're trapped by an unseen madman. It's not as crammed as a phone booth, and now that I think about it, we can't do a thriller in a phone booth anymore because there's no more pay phones, but it's an interesting idea.
 
ATM was written by Chris Sparling, who also wrote the thriller Buried, where Ryan Reynolds was trapped in a coffin, and the three people trapped in the ATM station are Alice Eve (now starring in Star Trek 2), Josh Peck (the Red Dawn reboot), and Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker).
 
It's also interesting to note that ATM premiered on VOD March 2 before hitting theaters on April 6. You can download it VOD via SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon, and Xbox. 

Can a thriller that takes place strictly at an ATM deliver? Sure, there's more room than in a phone booth or in a coffin, but I'm hoping the right script and director with this could make something cool that could also inspire other low budget, creative traps for people to fall into.