“M3GAN” meets “Smart House” in new rogue-AI thriller “Afraid”

“M3GAN” meets “Smart House” in new rogue-AI thriller “Afraid”

Watch the trailer for Blumhouse's horror film starring John Cho and Katherine Waterston as a couple that falls for a powerful digital assistant.

As technology like Siri and Alexa take on more personal roles in our lives and homes, and "AI" becomes a commonplace term, it's reasonable to wonder what might happen if such devices became malevolent instead of helpful. The upcoming horror film Afraid is the latest attempt at reckoning with such a possibility, and you can watch the first trailer now.

Written and directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Twilight Saga: New Moon), Afraid stars John Cho as Curtis, the father of a family that has been selected to test out a revolutionary new technology. AIA is a digital assistant (voiced by Havana Rose Liu) that fully integrates with their home with extensive wall-mounted cameras (creepily called "eyes") and sensors.

At first she seems helpful, offering to read to the family's young son, Cal (Isaac Bae), and help the parents handle their bills, but wouldn't you know it, things quickly take a dark turn.

<p>Sony</p> John Cho, Katherine Waterston, Lukita Maxwell, and Isaac Bae in 'Afraid'


John Cho, Katherine Waterston, Lukita Maxwell, and Isaac Bae in 'Afraid'

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Afraid hails from the horror studio Blumhouse, which also produced last year's smash hit M3GAN, and the trailer shows some thematic overlap. Like the talking doll from that film, AIA starts taking her protective nature into violent territory. When the family's teenage daughter (Lukita Maxwell) gets her nudes leaked to the whole school by a scummy boyfriend, AIA takes over the boy's car and seemingly kills him in revenge — you can see that in the trailer!

M3GAN isn't the only AI film evoked by Afraid's trailer: AIA's omnipresence throughout the home, her takeover of almost all domestic tasks, and (toward the end) her desire to manifest in physical form also resemble the classic Disney Channel Original Movie Smart House. That 1999 TV movie starred Katey Sagal as PAT, a digital assistant much like AIA that eventually took on the look of a classic TV housewife… albeit one with the power to physically control an entire household.

Related: M3GAN director on inventing killer doll's viral dance: 'It was one of those crazy, sleep-deprived, 3 a.m. thoughts'

At the end of Smart House, the family in convinces PAT that she doesn't need to take over the role of their mother, and she relinquishes her control. But based on the Afraid trailer, it doesn't seem like AIA will be that easy to get rid of. By the time the mom (Katherine Waterston) starts furiously tearing the cameras off the walls, it already feels too late.

Afraid hits theaters Aug. 30. Watch the new trailer above.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.