In 1999, the Disney Channel released a movie called Smart House that showcased how quickly artificial intelligence can become terrifying. While the film wasn’t exactly terrifying, given it was a Disney Channel original movie, it still presented a scary reality of a world driven by AI. Margaux takes the concept of Smart House and ups the ante, resulting in a terrifying thriller.
Margaux is a film that centers on a group of college friends as they rent a smart house for a weekend of partying. Simple enough concept, right? Unfortunately, though, things soon begin to turn into a disaster for the students. The smart house, which prefers to be called Margaux, first tries to cater to the students by giving them the house of their dreams. It takes their social media information and any other easily accessible information to design their rooms to their liking. It also uses the information to know their likes and dislikes. That in itself is terrifying, but the film only continues to become horrifying from then on.
Drew (Jedidiah Goodacre) rented the smart house to try and reconnect with his college friends after the quartet managed to become more distant over the years. However, from the get-go, things do not go as planned. His girlfriend, Lexi (Vanessa Morgan), ends up joining them and creating an uneasy tension within the group. This is where the film struggles initially, as it becomes all about tropes. Lexi is the social media influencer girlfriend, Drew is the model boyfriend, while Hannah (Madison Pettis) is the nerd of the group, Clay (Richard Harmon) is the stereotypical stoner, and Kayla (Phoebe Miu) and Devon (Jordan Buhat) are the adventurous couple. It’s frustrating how much time the film spends on these stereotypes. Lexi is made out to be an airhead and Clay seems incapable of being anything besides a stoner — the film’s two strongest actors are so poorly underused because their characters are underdeveloped.
If viewers can get beyond these frustrating moments, they are sure to find some enjoyable moments in Margaux. Hannah isn’t the best character, but she does get to shine in the third act. It is at this point that Margaux excels. While the scenarios presented on screen are far from realistic, they are so well-written, it’s hard not to be engulfed by the chaos occurring on screen. If the film had managed to perform at this level throughout? It could’ve been something special. But it spends too much time trying to be Cabin in the Woods if that movie had been made in a smart house.
Is Margaux a great film? No. It has plenty of faults and, honestly, some of the acting is rather subpar. However, despite all of this, it’s a terrifying thriller that takes our obsession with social media and technology and shows how easily it can destroy us. If you’re looking for a thrill ride heading into the Halloween season, Margaux is certainly worth a watch. It’s a fun ride for what it is.
Margaux is available on digital now.