Technology has long been successfully used in horror films. After Unfriended 2014, in which friends chat and are visited by the spirit, Countdown 2019 has an app that predicts when people will die. The last film released on this territory is “Margot”, released in early September 2022.
While the idea of a house that kills people is definitely interesting, the film doesn’t fulfill that promise and, instead, is a convoluted story that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere.
Directed by Stephen S. Miller, Margot was released on September 9, 2022 and was written by Chris Sivertson, Nick Waters and Christopher Beyruti. The film has a 55% viewer rating on Rotten Tomatoes and tells about friends who stay in a “smart house” that can talk, open and close doors and even cook impressive food in the kitchen. While the premise is intriguing, the film misses the mark and seems to be about nothing.
One of the main problems with Margot is the characters who feel too formulaic to care about them. The opening scene is similar to the beginning of “Cabin in the Woods”, but without such self-awareness. In both films, a group of college students go on a weekend to have fun and spend time in a remote country house. But in “Cabin in the Woods,” which is one of the best horror films of the 2010s, archetypes (athlete, good student, hot popular girl, stoner) are used to emphasize their point of view.
In “Margot”, the characters are cliche: the banal and frivolous influential woman Lexi (Vanessa Morgan), the couple Kyle (Phoebe Miu) and Devon (Jordan Bukhat), who are always climbing on each other, always stoned Clay (Richard Harmon), cute attractive Drew (Jedidiah Goodacre) and smart Hannah (Madison Pettis). The film doesn’t touch anyone deeply, and while it’s interesting that Drew and Hannah seem to be secretly in love with each other, that chemistry and attraction hasn’t gone away.
Another problem? Margot gives out her big zest too soon. Horror movies have unpredictable plot twists, and it’s always nice to be surprised. Only after some time in the film, the audience learns that the house can create clones of every person who stays in it. It’s a pity it’s revealed early because when Dom crushes Devon to death and then kills Kayla as she tries to escape, Hannah sees her friends outside by the pool. This is inefficient and not scary, because viewers already know that Devon doesn’t really swim, and Kayla doesn’t relax in the sun. The best plot twists in a movie should come out of nowhere and really shock.
From the house performing a retinal scan of each guest’s eye to the strange robotic hands that put food in the kitchen, the film also has some strange effects that aren’t scary at all. Since it is clear from the opening scene that the house is killing its inhabitants, it is difficult to be scared or surprised when something bad happens to the guests living in it. Another problem is that it doesn’t seem like it would be great to stay in this house, and there’s nothing in it that really sets it apart as a place for a great horror movie. It’s cute to see Clay enjoying a huge breakfast of waffles with chocolate sauce, but nothing that makes the house so funny or exciting that ruins how awful it should be.
Margot also uses the image of the last girl from the horror movie with Hannah, who is the smartest character because she loves programming and has a great future ahead of her. She can figure out how to escape, and that satisfies her. But, apart from Hannah, none of the characters have a personality or freedom of action. Lexi likes to post selfies and videos on her social networks and complains that her boyfriend Drew doesn’t know how to take a good picture of her, which is more annoying than funny. Lexi never redeems herself, which is why it’s exhausting to look at her.
Margot seems to be talking about nothing and has no important meaning. Viewers will most likely read to the end and think: “So the house is killing people… but why? And how did it start?” Unlike the satisfying endings in horror movies, this one ends in failure, and the audience doesn’t get an explanation of how this house came to be. Is Margot a supernatural being? Did someone create it? Was it a builder? Reaching the end, the audience will have a lot of questions, and since Margot does not answer the main question about the house, it is difficult for him to really enjoy.