Safer at Home, written by Lia Bozonelis and director Will Wernick, begins with news footage about the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of this video is real, but eventually, it morphs into fake news, as the audience is told that the variants of the virus mean there is no cure, and it continues into 2022. All of this feels like a setup for some ridiculous propaganda tale about how the coronavirus was a government ploy. Thankfully, the thriller is not, but this is a very rocky way to start.
The film proper begins with a video chat “birthday party” for Evan (Dan J. Johnson). Jen (Jocelyn Hudon), his girlfriend, reveals to Harper (Alisa Allapach) that she’s pregnant just before everyone else logs in. The other friends include couples Liam (Daniel Robaire) and Ben (Adwin Brown), and Mia (Emma Lahana), and Oliver (Michael Kupisk). Just before quarantine began, the group decided they should go to Las Vegas to celebrate, but that did not happen, nor did it last year.
“…an argument between Jen and Evan…she winds up dead…the other people on the call did not see what happened…”
So, Oliver decided to bring Vegas to his friends, having shipped everyone some drugs and has a night of games all prepared. However, a game of “Never Have I Ever” begins an argument between Jen and Evan, and she winds up dead. However, the other people on the call did not see what happened, so no one is sure if it was indeed an accident, as Evan claims, or not. Now, he must break curfew, a grave federal offense in this not-too-distant future, to try and figure out how to dispose of her body. Was it an accident? Will Evan’s friends remain true or turn him in?
Since COVID-19 first hit, it has been the springboard for many celluloid adventures, running the entire gamut of potential genres. This begs the question: what do the cast and crew of Safer at Home bring to the table to differentiate this title from the others? Quite a lot, it turns out. But, let’s skip to the end and the other negative out of the way first.
"…COVID-19...has been the springboard for many celluloid adventures..."