Free for all months on the Collab have the dubious distinction of providing some of our most memorable film experiences…along with some we’ve immediately forgotten. It’s rare we truly regret watching a film, particularly as there’s no better bonding experience than enjoying utter garbage together. Though this week’s film isn’t even close to the worst we’ve watched, it’s certainly not one that I’ll be giving a repeat viewing.
Trapped inside a smart house, a group of humans attempt to escape as, unbeknownst to them, sinister AI machines seize power.
In the year 2045, the world has become conveniently automated to the dystopian degree we’ve all come to expect. For recently divorced mother Alice, the household is run by Monique, an android who looks uncannily human, along with a handful of older models of household robots.
While the robots strive to be loved by the humans they serve and even long to be human themselves, self-aware AI known as Yonyx seek to replace their creators. The Yonyx oversee a strange reality show that features the humiliation and torture of humans, rather transparently enjoying this above all else.
Rather than show much concern for what’s happening in the world, the humans in this future are predictably wrapped up in their own dramas. As Alice attempts to move on from her ex with a sleazy man named Max, Monique can sense his intentions are less than noble. Largely for plot reasons, Max’s teenage son Leo is around for the evening as well.
Before the evening can get going, Alice’s ex-husband Victor crashes the party, bringing along their adopted daughter and his much younger fiancée, Jennifer. Rounding out the group is older neighbor Françoise and her dog–at least the sixth or seventh cloned version as the other ones have died horribly.
Things begin to go awry when, sensing elevated threat levels from outside, Alice’s smart home locks everyone inside. While Victor and Jennifer fret that they will miss their destination wedding on an artificial island, news reports reveal the Yonyx are taking increasing control over humanity.
As escape attempts fail one by one, the group finally secures an exit at the worst possible time…when a Yonyx arrives on site to “assess” the humans. What does fate have in store for human and robot alike, and even the world?
3/5 Pink Panther Heads
I liked this one aesthetically and am willing to give it a lot of credit for that. The warm pastels and 1950s-inspired fashion suggest a false sense of contentment and peace, contrasting the cold mechanical appearance of the Yonyx. It is of course not a coincidence that the film is set exactly 100 years after the end of WWII, and the future of the world seems just as precarious here.
In light of this, the tone is super strange, making a lot of the humor feel inappropriate and empty at its core. The film needed to push things much further, either towards a darker or a more comically absurd message. Not a lot makes sense here, from the tone to the character motivations to the plot itself. There is way too much plot jampacked into the film, making things feel disjointed.
In addition, none of the characters are particularly likeable or interesting, and the film’s tacked-on ending is unsettling. The robots are perhaps the most compelling of anyone, but they don’t get a huge amount of screen time to express their personalities. What’s annoying is how little they follow any sort of consistent logic…which is largely because of the film’s message. However, as a sci-fi fan, this especially gets under my skin.