Quarantine thriller ‘Safer at Home’ flops

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Graphic by Sophia Pearson

Director Will Wernick disappoints with his newest film, “Safer at Home.”

Director Will Wernick disappoints in Prime Video’s thriller “Safer at Home” on Feb. 26. The film takes place in a world where the COVID-19 pandemic has lasted two years. A group of friends gather on a Zoom call and when a horrible accident occurs, they scramble to help each other. 

Given that this film was a semi-fictionalized account of the COVID-19 pandemic, it did depict some realistic elements. The film opened with real news footage of Donald Trump about a year ago at the start of this pandemic. The only real difference between the truth and what this movie depicted was that in the film the pandemic has been going on for two years.

With how grounded the film is, it’s undetermined whether this was supposed to be funny or just obnoxious. To make a film about a traumatic event that is still going on seems a bit odd and watching gave me a sense of discomfort. Being forced to imagine enduring a pandemic lockdown for two years was a horrible idea.

The film’s premise is essentially a Zoom call gone wrong. A group of old friends gathers online and takes what they think is ecstasy. The night takes a horrible turn when someone falls and hits their head, making the group believe she’s dead. Panicked, the group stays on this Zoom call through the night.

Director Will Wernick is no stranger to the thriller genre. He directed “No Escape” (2020) and “Escape Room” (2017) which are similar to “Safer at Home” in the way they intertwine horror and technology. Wernick’s films border the possibility for deeper meaning regarding fears about technology and social media but fall short. “Safer at Home” felt like a nightmare I couldn’t wait to wake up from.

Perhaps the only message this film offered, if any at all, was to not take ecstasy with your friends on a Zoom call. This film may have been salvageable had they presented the scenes to us in a more cinematic way, but the film lacked the strength to carry though the virtual landscape.

The film ends with a surprising turn of events that flip the entire film on its head. For what the film lacked in gravitas, it made up for in reminding us of some of the chaos that took place early in the pandemic. For better or worse, this film served as a haunting reminder of the isolation that we as a society have experienced on some level through this pandemic.

Rating: 1/ 5

Sophia Pearson can be reached at [email protected] or @sophia__pearson on Twitter.