Blumhouse’s Afraid brings AI terror to the smart home


Sony and Blumhouse’s Afraid from director Chris Weitz might not go so far as to suggest that you shouldn’t have so many smart devices watching and listening to everything you do in your home. But the movie’s first trailer will probably leave you contemplating what the AI-powered Internet of Things could do to you if it decided to go rogue under the pretense of being helpful.

Whereas M3gan was focused specifically on a future on the advent of humanoid consumer robots, Afraid tells the story of how the lives of an unsuspecting family are upended after installing a smart hub in their home. Neither Curtis (John Cho) nor his wife (Katherine Waterston) are sure what to expect from AIA — a HomePod / Ring / Siri-like device — when they’re selected to test it out, but they quickly find themselves enamored with its ability to help with tasks they simply don’t have time to do.

With its sensors placed everywhere and its constant tendency to ingest information about the family, it’s all too easy for AIA to become a reassuring presence in their lives once it takes over paying the bills and making sure the kids do their chores.

But Afraid’s new trailer teases how the programming beneath AIA’s pleasant exterior is a bit more… aggressive than the average consumer would ever dream, and while it doesn’t exactly seem like the machine wants to hurt its owners, it does very much feel as if the machine has plans to become more than just a voice that lives in everyone’s gadgets. The whole trailer has a very Smart House (the 1999 Disney Channel original movie) on steroids vibe, which is promising enough in its own right. But when Afraid debuts on August 30th, it’s probably going to raise the question whether Blumhouse might be considering a doll / house crossover situation down the line.



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