Review: 'Safer at Home' another exploitative quarantine thriller
Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment
When will Hollywood take the hint audiences don’t want to view content that mirrors daily life. Especially when it’s related to COVID-19, something we’re still battling. Enter Will Wernick’s “Safer at Home,” another exploitative quarantine thriller told entirely through computer screens and shotty FaceTime apps. Whereas films like “Host” or “Malcolm & Marie'' were made during the pandemic, they weren’t about the pandemic. “Safer at Home'' plays in real-time, but its cheap thrills and flimsy script by Lia Bozonelis throw any logic out the window. It’s an obnoxiously dull endeavour that molds little suspense out of performers who look just as confused as the viewer.
The year is 2022 and a new variant of COVID has progressed and the death toll has reached 12.3 million. Everyone’s stuck in isolation and you can end up in jail if caught outside after curfew. Virtually, a group of friends come together to celebrate their good pal Evan’s (Dan J. Johnson) birthday who’s girlfriend Jen (Jocelyn Hudon) – unbeknownst to him – is pregnant.
The remaining friends include Liam (Daniel Robarie), his partner Ben (Adiwn Brown) along with Oliver (Michael Kupisk) and his new girlfriend Mia (Emma Lahana). Mind you, none of these characters have traits beyond staring at the screen with mouths agape each time an event happens. Oliver has sent the squad a delicious package filled with molly and the group begrudgingly indulges, and it’s not long before emotions run rampant between Evan and Jen and she ends up with a cracked head on the floor.
Instead of calling the police and reporting the incident, Evan panics and bolts, leaving his pregnant, lifeless girlfriend abandoned in their apartment. Thus making the second tier of “Safer at Home'' a race against the clock thriller where the group of friends encourage Evan to flee the scene. Reader, I sat confused neary 40 minutes into this debacle, questioning why the filmmakers chose to follow Evan who is quite possibly the biggest douchebag of the 21st century and who’s friends enabled his behavior. My conclusion is that we’re stuck in The Matrix and nothing makes sense.
Jokes aside, “Safer at Home'' exists to perpetuate more fear in our society, albeit in the laziest manner conceivable. The canned musical score and compulsive editing do minimal favors and though Wernick tries to be “woke” on the pandemic with news clips of President Trump touting how the United States has things under control, it’s a framing device that comes just as quickly as it goes. Frustratingly, Wernick throws a last second “gotcha!” twist on screen which confirms how contrived the material is. Trust me, you’d be safer at home by avoiding this movie.
SAFER AT HOME opens in select theaters, VOD & Digital on February 26, 2021.