Margaux takes its title from the name of the sophisticated AI that runs the smart home serving as the film’s main location, And, as films from Demon Seed to Dark Cloud have told us, putting a computer in charge of your house never ends well. And judging by the prologue featuring Lochlyn Munro (Apex, Dead Voices) and Brittany Mitchell (Just One Kiss, Cradle Did Fall) this will be no exception.
A group of college friends, Hannah (Madison Pettis, Captain Jake and the Never Land Pirates, He’s All That), Lexi (Vanessa Morgan, My Babysitter’s a Vampire, Riverdale), Drew (Jedidiah Goodacre, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Recall), Kayla (Phoebe Miu. Broil, Die in a Gunfight), Devon, (Jordan Buhat, Summer of 84, Grown-ish) and Clay (Richard Harmon, Puppet Killer, The Return) feel that they’ve grown apart in the four years since they left high school. So the former Nerd Herd decide to get together for a weekend party before graduation.
Director Steven C. Miller, (Silent Night, Arsenal) and writers Chris Beyrooty (Shelter in Place), Chris Sivertson (Brawlers, All Cheerleaders Die) and Nick Waters (Little One) start Margaux off with a literal bang before slowing the pace down to a crawl for introductions and lots of scenes of the cast wandering around the lavish house. So far, so cliched. And that applies to the characters we’re introduced to. There’s the computer whiz, the couple that is constantly having sex with their underwear on, the stoner, the social media influencer and the jock. And with Margaux (voiced by Susan Bennett, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, Songbird) playing the killer we have Horror Casting 101.
Just as I was about to resign myself to another dull thriller a robotic pool cleaner decided to imitate an octopus and Margaux starts unleashing a variety of deaths that are as inventive as they are improbable. Mixed in with the kills is a thinly veiled warning about technology, social media, data mining and loss of privacy. Margaux uses her guests’ social media profiles to set up the house for them, which includes how to dispose of them as well. The horny couple are killed in a bedroom that looks like an S&M dungeon, the stoner’s case of cotton mouth leads to his. You get the idea.
The one exception is Hannah who despite being a computer genius isn’t on any social networks and won’t download the house’s app either. That leaves Margaux with only what she can glean from the others’ profiles to figure her out. It’s a bit more drastic than figuring out how to get you to buy crap you don’t need or convince you who to vote for, but the comparison is clear.
Thankfully though this isn’t laid on so heavy it gets in the way of the fun and after some deaths that have a throwback Final Destination by way of Wishmaster feel and are accompanied by Freddy Krueger-style one-liners, the survivors launch a counterattack only to see the film move into Westworld territory. And that’s only a few of the films that get touched on here, even the Alien franchise gets a nod.
The result is a film that while never overly scary is an enjoyable but lightweight bit of entertainment and it knows it. Margaux may not be a comedy, but it doesn’t take itself overly seriously either. This means for once the lousy CGI becomes a plus. If the robotic tentacles that Margaux can summon were actually scary looking they would spoil the cheesy mood.
And as long as you know not to take it seriously, you should have a good time with it too. Margaux is cinematic junk food done right.