Spooktober 2019 – A.M.I.

I’ll be perfectly honest here: I will 100% judge movies by their Netflix cover image. If that little picture and the title don’t immediately appeal to me in some way, I’ll never watch it (unless someone tells me to). If it doesn’t look good, I can’t even guarantee I’ll read the summary blurb.

So then how in the heck did I end up watching A.M.I.? Mostly because I do read the descriptions for any movies that are obviously about social media or smartphones to laugh/groan at how stupid they are. But then I saw that this one is Canadian, and also it’s only 75 minutes long. This was probably going to be one of those special terrible movies.

Let me tell you, it was special all right. And I’m trying to think of a way to make fun of it for being “special” without being offensive towards mentally or physically disabled peoples, but I cannot. So let’s just move on.

A.M.I. tells the story of a rich young lady name Cassie, who is dealing with the loss of her mother. Basically all this amounts to is Cassie letting her sports-jock boyfriend treat her like garbage and being mad at her father for becoming an alcoholic and/or womanizer to deal with his own grief. Or at least that’s what I’m assuming. He could have very well been those things before his wife’s passing. We don’t get much insight there.

So we open to establish our main characters, and and from that point everything goes down the tubes. Nearly every choice made by every character after the seven-minute mark made me shout an incredulous “WHAT” or “WHY” at my television. This movie, my friends, is bonkers. Let’s take a closer look at the bigger offenses.

Cassie is out for a jog, and notices an abandoned phone lying around. She ignores it and goes home. Later that night, she can’t stop thinking about the phone, and returns to collect it. WHAT? There’s absolutely no motivation for her to do such a thing. She has a phone, and also is rich. There’s no reason why she would pick up someone else’s dirty old used phone off the street.

As it turns out, the phone has an A.I. program called A.M.I…. which is always running, I guess? She doesn’t have to unlock the phone or anything, it just works. WHAT? Nobody is going to leave their phone without a lock feature. Even if, even if it was left behind purposely by someone because (spoiler) it’s infested with a malicious A.I., that phone would have been initially set up with a lock feature, and the previous owner would not have gone through the process of removing it before dumping the device. It makes No. Goddamn. Sense.

Then, as if we aren’t suspending disbelief far enough, the phone’s A.I. calibrates itself to Cassie’s dead mom’s voice, and then has her call it “Mother.” And she is fine with this. And she shows it to her best friend, who is also fine with this. And then she takes the phone to the roadside memorial of her mother, where it gets offended and tells her to stop taking her meds. Which she does. Without hesitation.

To summarize: our main character has picked up a random phone with a pre-installed A.I. and started using it as a surrogate mother, following its every command. And that’s before she stops taking her crazy pills.

I’m not one for cussing, but guys? F*** this movie.

You can almost certainly see where this is going, so I’m not even going to try to beat around the bush: the phone-as-mom exerts complete influence over Cassie and convinces her to brutally murder a bunch of people. So Cassie is actually our villain. Going in, I thought this was going to be more of a Child’s Play kind of scenario where the phone was somehow the villain, and Cassie was helpless to stop it. But no. Cassie kills people because Siri tells her to, no questions asked.

The first murder is one of the friends, who has apparently done the sex with all of Cassie’s boyfriends. Because she’s jealous that Cassie is rich. WHAT? But the friend’s phone was set up to vlog, and records the whole murder. This is important, because Cassie’s dad finds it later. Days later, having been on record the whole time, and still hasn’t run out of battery. I don’t think the writer of this film knows how smartphones work. What does he do when he finds a video of his daughter beating another girl to death? I’ll give you a hint: he doesn’t take it to the authorities even a little bit. And he had lots of time and several chances to do so.

No, instead he decides to confront Cassie about it directly. Which gets him killed and buried in an oil drum. Just… what? You know your daughter has violently murdered someone. You watched it happen. Why would you approach her about it? WHY? How could you not anticipate that you would be next? Dude was too stupid to live. Later on, the best friend also sees the video and gets an axe to the face for it, but she didn’t really have a chance because Cassie was right there. To her credit, she tried to pretend nothing happened and walk away, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen.

I’d also like to take a moment to point out the most egregious scene in the movie. That best friend character just walks into Cassie’s (unlocked) house and strolls into the kitchen. Then the opens the fridge, picks out a half-full water bottle, and just drinks straight out of it. WHAT!? Who strolls into someone else’s home and just drinks out of a container that someone else has already drank from? That’s so gross! And rude! This kind of garbage is exactly why I never allow other humans entry to my home.

In the end, Cassie kills the boyfriend guy and due to the phone’s advice has set it up so it looks like he did all the murders (she buried all the bodies in his backyard) and she killed him in self-defence. So Cassie gets off scott-free and goes on to live a happy life with a full family of smartphones with A.M.I. personalities based on her dead loved ones. Also one whose A.I. emulates a baby? What? WHAT?

I hate this movie.

I suppose there’s some sort of message here about how we’re actually the ones controlled by our devices. But the fact that so much of this stretches possibility, even plausibility so far that it just comes off as ridiculous. I know that characters in horror movies are supposed to make bad decisions so that things can happen, but every single character in this film is an utter moron, completely void of any ability to make a single rational judgment. Nothing that happens makes any sense, and I honestly can’t think of another movie that has frustrated me so thoroughly.

A.M.I. is garbage. Don’t ever watch it. It’s as dumb as a post, but takes itself 100% seriously. While sometimes that can still lead to an entertaining watch, this isn’t one of those times. While the actual filmmaking parts like camerawork and lighting are generally fine, everything else drags it down into the mire of boring pointlessness. The worst part is that I could see this concept working at least a little better as a horror-comedy, but there is not a single funny thing in this film, intentional or otherwise.

Also, the actors constantly pronounce A.M.I. as the name “Amy” instead of the French word for friend, “ami”, which completely ruins the somewhat clever wordplay. Like I said before, this is a Canadian movie. How did they mess that up!? This movie is the worst.


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