Eva narrowly escaped being murdered during a recent terrifying home invasion in Mexico City. She and her husband decide to relocate to Los Angeles where she can recuperate. But when her husband has to travel for business, she’s left alone in an unfamiliar place and suffering from paranoia. She’s consoled by the smart home security system, but the technology is difficult to master and she starts to wonder if it will actually keep her safe or take over her life.
MOTION DETECTED relies entirely on Natasha Esca‘s performance as Eva. Her descent into madness goes from 75 to 200 very quickly. A moment with wine is, perhaps, a touch over the top. Esca shines brightest when speaking Spanish. It’s her most natural delivery.
I understand the need for lighting, but the nighttime bedroom scenes appear overlit. That aside, the set is gorgeous. This LA mansion has all the architectural features to swoon over. Using what appear to be Ring video clips to create palpable fear is a slick device, and the subplot of trauma heightens the stakes.
The film struggles with picking a storytelling lane. Eva’s PTSD and (*spoiler alert*) the haunted alarm system conflict more than they mesh. The idea that Diablo might manifest your greatest fears to lure you in needs a better narrative anchor in the film’s opening scene. Overall, the notion of tech knowing too much about us at every moment is a solid starting point. We can all relate to using some version of an AI assistant. The meat is on the bone in MOTION DETECTED, but it is a tad undercooked, in my opinion.
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