Franck Khalfoun Gets Scary with P2

The first time director uses a brand new bag of tricks to infuse some different thrills into the horror genre

It's Christmas Eve: a time for curling up by the fire with family and friends; a day when even the most voracious corporate climbers generally head home by dinner time. But not Angela. She's the last one left at the office, determined to close one more deal before the holiday. The long hours she keeps will have an impact, but not the kind she's been hoping for.

This is the subject matter of Director Franck Khalfoun's directing debut, P2. Co-scripted with horror maven Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur, Khalfoun recently sat down with us to discuss the story he has visually put together for this film.

How did you come up with the world of P2?

Franck Khalfoun: I wrote the script with Alex and Greg, the three of us wrote it. It really came from them. They had heard something about Paris, that things like that were going on and they got the idea for it and thought it would make a pretty cool little movie.

So it just stems from that?

Franck Khalfoun: Yes. It was their idea and they gave it to me to write and direct.

By their very nature, do you think that abandoned parking garages make for a good horror device?

Franck Khalfoun: Yes. It's confined, it's dark, it's damp, dirty. It's got everything you want and it has all kinds of corners and alleyways, stairs and a lot of crazy confinement. The tension is that you can really be stuck and terrified in. So, yes!

Why did you guys set the film around Christmas? Were you hoping to make a statement about the holidays?

Franck Khalfoun: No, I think it's more of an emotional, manipulative, little sort of trick. Christmastime is the time that people want to be surrounded by family. If you're stuck in a parking lot it makes it even worse. It's just about trying to get an emotional reaction out of the audience.

What visual aspects were you trying to achieve for this film seeing as how you were in such a confined area?

Franck Khalfoun: That's an interesting question. Every department, as well as the actors had to really stretch... to make something creative out of nothing. You're surrounded by walls, how do you make those interesting? It was a combination of art direction and cinematography. How do we establish different levels of the parking lot? How do we connect that to different levels of fear? Hence the tagline, "A new level of fear." Basically, it was about trying to coordinate different colors and the different floors in the parking lot... the further down we went the darker it became and the more dangerous it seemed like a situation we were facing.

What would you like audiences to take away from watching P2?

Franck Khalfoun: (Laughs) That's funny! Interesting buddy. Be careful, I mean, you can survive anything. That's the theme of the movie, you can get out of any situation if you stay calm and use your wits. There's no situation you can't come out of.

Definitely. What are you working on next?

Franck Khalfoun: I'm adapting a novel for Alex Aja for one of his films. I just finished a script which is a suspense, thriller again. I'm reading different stuff so nothing's ready to shoot yet, a lot of things that we're talking about.

Can you say the name of the novel that you're adapting? Or, the name of the new script?

Franck Khalfoun: Ah.... no. (Laughs)

No worries.

Franck Khalfoun: I better keep it a secret.

P2 comes to theaters November 9 from Summit Entertainment.