Margaux (2022)

It is unbelievable how ridiculous “Margaux” is. When you approach a movie about a technologically advanced house that decides to off the residents, you can expect some level of absurdity but Steven C. Miller really goes for the throat, here. “Margaux” watches like a feature length approach of “The Ultrahouse 3000” sketch from “The Simpsons”; except it’s not as funny and ten times as idiotic. At least “The Ultrahouse 3000” was a satire and dark comedy, but “Margaux” plays everything deadpan. Director Miller plays so much of what unfolds with such a straight face, you have to eventually wonder if he’s just jerking the audience around.

A bunch of twenty somethings playing college kids go to stay at an advanced house for the weekend to get drunk and party. The house happens to be operated by an AI named Margaux. Margaux is at first a submissive computer system catering to their every desires but eventually she becomes so overbearing that she eventually decides to murder them. As they fight to survive, Margaux begins to evolve, and the battle becomes more and more complicated.

“Margaux” is too serious to take as dark comedy, and too silly to take as a dramatic approach to this kind of concept. Are we supposed to fear Margaux when she’s spouting Gen Z slang non-stop? And what is her master plan for this entire film? Is she murdering these people to learn how to copy them? Is she murdering them because she views them as inferior? How did she learn to create human clones? What is the technology involved in that? Is the liquid symbolic for semen? Why would she lure people to her house just to kill them? Has anyone else ever reported this huge complex computer to the authorities? Who or what built, and programmed Margaux?

Why build such an advanced, technologically incredible house that can build artificial environments and produce its own marijuana, just to turn it in to an Air BnB for rich college students? Why did she decide to draw out the weekend rather than knocking them all off with immediacy? Was she in love with the primary protagonist Drew? That and so many more questions are left dangling in the air after the movie closes. And considering the laugh out loud ridiculous final scene, there’s just so much more that is never explored in the screenplay. I’m all for ambiguity, but there’s literally nothing explained about Margaux or the house to us that can give us a reason to become invested in the narrative. As for the characters, they’re all basically cannon fodder, despite the best efforts by the cast.

There’s the stoner, the alpha male, the queen bee, and the geeky girl. The latter is played by Madison Pettis who is just impossible to buy as this reluctant book worm. Nothing about “Margaux” makes any real sense or has any rationale behind it. Things just happen, and Margaux just creates these random abilities out of nowhere to move the narrative along at director Miller’s convenience. Steven C. Miller is usually a very good director, but he’s so much better than “Margaux.” A movie about the inherent horrors of a sentient AI is old hat, even with today’s discussion about the rise of AI. It’s a shame “Margaux” never aspires to be anything more than a schlocky tech gone awry camp fest.