Safer at Home
It’s 2022, the fourth strain of the coronavirus has devastated the world, particularly the US. The opening scene of Safer at Home compiles news reports of riots, footage of ICU wards treating Covid patients, announcements of strict curfews and the subsequent criminal charges if the public do not comply. Amidst all this, seven friends, couples Evan and Jen, Ben and Liam and Joe and Mia plus singleton Harper have a group video call. In order to celebrate Evan’s birthday and their repeated failed attempts to plan a trip to Vegas, Joe sends all of them ecstasy pills from Japan. When truths are drawn out by euphoric highs, inquisitive new members of the group and drinking games, an argument between Evan and Jen results in her falling and banging her head. Evan must evade the police, all whilst his friends watch.
The first twenty minutes of the feature creates a stable rhythm, subtly drawing out secrets and private jokes between the friendship group and establishing the dynamics between them. When Jen hits her head and the “action” of the film is set in motion, the movie reveals itself for what it really is; a cheap, lacklustre and trivial attempt at an online thriller. Films of this sub-genre have proven popular amongst movie audiences, with mystery thriller Searching and teen horror Unfriended. Both serve equal amounts of tension and a strong story at its core, but Safer at Home leaves large amounts of time where essentially nothing is happening and just depicts a group of people staring blankly into the camera. No tension, no excitement, just a bad narrative carried by horrendous overacting.
This flick is obviously trying to encapsulate all that we have experienced this past year. Toilet paper and water bottles can be found in bulk in the backgrounds of the friend’s homes. Relationships feeling the pressure of quarantine and in one rather upsetting scene, Evan drives by roads full of tents of homeless people and chaotic destruction across the streets of Los Angeles. It is clear with what it is trying to say with its ending and although it is topical and reflective of the current state of the United States, the picture trivialises the horrors of systematic racism, particularly from the American police. Rather than portraying truth, it capitalises on racism, brutality and murder, cheapening an already inexpensive and pitiful work.
Safer at Home is released digitally on demand on 3rd May 2021.
Watch the trailer for Safer At Home here: