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Movie Roundup #10 - Susan-Alia Terry

Movie Roundup #10

Jun 24, 2023 | Movie Roundup

Margaux – Paramount+

Horror

What Margaux wants, she gets. As a group of seniors celebrate their final college days at a smart house, the house’s highly advanced AI system, Margaux, begins to take on a deadly presence of her own. A carefree weekend of partying turns into a dystopian nightmare as they realize Margaux’s plans to eliminate her tenants one way or another. Time begins to run out as the group desperately tries to survive and outsmart the smart home.

Ever since I saw (and read) Demon Seed back in the day, an AI controlled house has been on my Oh Hell No list. Margaux only cemented that sentiment. She isn’t interested in impregnating anyone, she just wants everyone to die—and die they do.

For me, these kinds of movies fall into three categories: Revenge—where the wronged party takes everyone out because they can; Assholes Die—where everyone’s an asshole and the killing is their comeuppance; Good Guys Die—where the characters are likable and killing them hurts to watch.

While I have a thing for the Revenge-type, the Good Guys Die-type are my second favorite. Margaux falls into this category.

These kids just want to celebrate graduating college. They’re young and fun and while their group includes the requisite types: popular, handsome jock, stoner, nerd, etc. I liked them. Nobody was obnoxious so watching them die was hard—as it should have been.

Margaux’s machinations and motivations elevated this slasher. It was tight and the pacing kept things moving while also giving us time to like the characters. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.

Definitely saved to re-watch. 5 stars.

 

The Subjects – Tubi

Sci-Fi · Thriller

Locked in a room for a clinical trial, eight strangers find that the drug they’ve been dosed with has given them superpowers.

Sunskye is the future of science! Their aim is to eliminate most sickness and disease. To this end they’re holding human trials to help humanity take the next step into the limitless beyond! It’s not hinky, nope.

Eight strangers congregate in a sound studio —totally not hinky—for a clinical trial of unknown drugs to combat unknown ailments. They get zero information. The only instruction is that once they take the drug, the door will lock and won’t unlock for 8 hours. The drug itself looks ominous—orangey, crystaly, glowy. The loudmouth of the group (isn’t there always one?) asserts they’re the Control group because they got no instructions. Although doubtful, everyone takes theirs, either buying into the idea that they are the Control group or being peer pressured into it.

We’ve got the usual suspects: dickhead, hottie, business guy, etc. Things go off the rails pretty quickly, mostly because of the dickhead’s personality—requisite clash of characters. Until the freaky shit begins.

Everyone develops “super powers” but not the fun ones. These are not powers anyone wants, these are powers designed to make the rest of their (short) life hell.

Because there’s eight characters, it took a bit for the movie to reveal all their powers, and so it kinda dragged a little. Especially after the eight hour mark when it was obvious the company locked them in because their powers were too crazy to be let loose into the population.

Despite the slower points, this was a freaky little movie—I liked it. 4 stars.

 

The Death of Us – Tubi

Thriller · Sci-Fi

This pandemic thriller imagines a dystopian future in which lockdowns are so strict, your very life is at stake for stepping outside your front door.

The movie centers two people: a man and a woman. They’re friends, the woman is engaged to a doctor who is the man’s best friend. Don’t really know why they’re living together, but somehow they get stuck in the same house when everything goes to shit. At first everything is fine, she teaches her exercise classes online, he does his mechanic thing at home. But as the lockdown progresses their work dries up.

Around 200 days in, martial law is declared and no-one can leave their houses. The military has been tasked with dropping off food once a day and picking up trash. Using drones, they patrol endlessly, preventing anyone from escaping their homes. As soon as you step out the door, they’re on you.

Around 300 days in, the electricity is cut off between 8 am and 8 pm to save it for hospitals and such. A neighbor tries to leave because someone in his house is sick. He gets shot. The woman’s fiancee dies from the virus.

At their wits end, these two decide to escape to the mountains. Their efforts are thwarted when they almost get caught as the patrols are suddenly randomized.

Around 500 days in, with approx 16 million dead, our couple turns on the gas and takes themselves out.

I honestly have no idea what the point of this movie was. It leaned equally hard in the “it’s not real, we’re being lied to” conspiracy end of things, and in the “its a virus people are dying” end of things. As a result, I don’t know if it was a conspiracy movie ie: “They want to lower the population.” Or “They want to control us.” Or if the horror (and stupidity) of an endless martial law was the point.

On top of it all, it dragged and the performances were spotty. I think it would have been more interesting if the movie leaned into the conspiracy that everything was a lie, and the marital law was completely about control rather than not committing to anything.

More confusing than scary. 2 stars.

 

Lyla – Tubi

Horror · Mystery · Thriller

A husband takes his family on a getaway but must fight for his sanity when mysterious strangers who seem to know him well continue to visit him.

A man takes his family to a cabin in the woods to he can write his book. He sees things and people who seem to know who he is. He is a complete asshole to his family. His wife is rather cold, but warm to her son.

I watched this movie twice. Twice. Not because it was that good, but because I had no idea what I’d just watched. And you know what? I still don’t.

Maybe the husband was going nuts, hearing things and seeing people.

Maybe the wife was having an affair and maimed and killed her kid.

Maybe the husband killed them.

Maybe he imagined the whole fucking thing.

I don’t really know. I do know that there was too much damn discordant violin, and I’m really starting to hate that trope.

If you want to watch a horror movie about a writer with problems The Dark Half or Secret Window is a better bet. Hell, any version of The Shining even. I don’t know what the fuck this was. 2 stars.


As always, if you’ve seen any of these, let me know what you thought.

Until next time.

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