Romi (2024) Movie Review - Smart Home Horror Bore

Horror, Thriller | 86 Min
Cover from Tubi Original horror movie Romi (2024)
  • Director: Robert Cuffley
  • Actors: Alexa Barajas, Martin Cochingco, Shannon Leahy
  • Writers: Susie Moloney
  • Producers: John E. Ferraro, Colin Sheldon
  • Country: Canada
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Violence, Language, Drug Use
  • Horror, Thriller | 86 Min

Forced to hide out at a state of the art smart home a young woman on the run is terrorized by ROMI its sinister digital assistant

Welcome to Knockout Horror and to our review of the Tubi Original horror movie Romi. This is one of those movies that hit the festival circuit (well, the Fantasia International Film Festival, anyways) in 2023 but didn’t come to television screens until 2024. I checked it out on Tubi while catching up on some of the stuff I had missed and, frankly, I kind of wish I didn’t.


Coming by way of director Robert Cuffley and writer Susie Moloney who also teamed up on the equally shite Bright Hill Road. Romi is, quite simply, a monotonous, predictable, and rather messy bore of a horror movie. It follows a young woman, Maddie (Alexa Barajas), who, while distracted by her phone, hits a man with her car and flees the scene. Realising that she needs to lay low for awhile. She enlists the help of her politician mum who hooks her up with some digs. The digs in question just so happen to be a “futuristic” high tech house that’s hiding a sinister secret. 

Screenshot from Tubi Original horror movie Romi (2024)

The home’s smart assistant “Romi” seems to have a mind of its own. It is spotty when fulfilling requests for Maddie and keeps losing track of who is in the home. Maddie begins experiencing strange events, noises in the night etc etc. And it is almost as if the house is trying to tell her something.

So while it all sounds rather interesting and different. This is your basic, run of the mill, paranormal movie with added technology. If you were to think “bumps in the night” and things seen out of the corner of eyes. But with a lot more blue and pink LED lighting and larger windows you would be on the right track.

A Hateful Protagonist

The problems start almost immediately with this one. I mean, let’s kick things off by addressing the elephant in the room. Our “protagonist” is a horribly entitled girl in her early 20s who just so happens to be responsible for leaving an innocent person in a coma. Not only does she injure somebody horribly; she leaves the person bleeding out in the road so that she doesn’t get in trouble.

Screenshot from Tubi Original horror movie Romi (2024)

Maddie is an insufferable prick of a character without a single redeeming quality. All she wants to do is feel sorry for herself and get high. I wouldn’t entertain giving the time of day to such a twat of a human in real life. Let alone spend an hour and a half with them. Yet director Robert Cuffley wants you to sympathise with her and even root for her. 

Yeah bub, that ain’t happening. Maddie’s only moment of “redemption” comes when things get so choppy for her at the house that she wants to own up to her crime so she can leave. And that brings me onto my next point.

Not So Smart House

The house in question here is supposed to be futuristically high tech… Except it really isn’t. The basement contains an elaborate “super computer” of sorts that powers the home’s artificial intelligence. Allowing the residents to requests things from the smart assistant, lock and unlock doors, change lighting and order food. You know, all of the stuff you can do with a tiny Alexa assistant the size of a coffee mug?

The tech here is not impressive. I am sure this movie was tagged with “science fiction” on Tubi. What the hell is science fiction about a smart home that is less smart than your average Alexa or Google home device? I control all of my lighting through Alexa, I have a video doorbell, I have cameras all around the outside of the property. Hell, I was even tempted to install some smart door locks and automatic blinds.

Screenshot from Tubi Original horror movie Romi (2024)

All of this stuff is possible with minimal funding. It’s not that impressive. Especially when the tech in question feels more primitive than what is available to us now. It actually messes up more than Alexa and that is saying something. I feel like a parrot with how much I have to repeat myself to the damn thing and I barely have an accent. The concept here would have been impressive 30 years ago. Now it feels redundant because everyone has been in a home where the residents use smart home assistants. 

Dull and Repetitive

The movie plays out in a wholly predictable manner. Repeating the same tropes over and over again and recycling the same tiresome paranormal horror scares you have seen a million times. It isn’t until about three quarters of the way through that things change up slightly. Revealing something that, likely, will have been fairly obvious to most people watching and changing the pacing slightly to accommodate.

It’s really difficult to stay interested in this one. It is no surprise to me that this was originally a short of the same name from 2019. I have no clue why directors feel the need to stretch out concepts that only work in 20 minute formats into boring feature length chores.

Acting is mediocre. Alexa Barajas comes across as one of those “mono-expression” actors with limited range. I am not sure that her motivation of being a completely unlikable twat of a character gave her much to work with, though. Maybe she would shine with a better script and story?

Screenshot from Tubi Original horror movie Romi (2024)

Direction is mediocre. There are some decent shots here and there and some creative use of lighting. Pacing is poor and the scares are both predictable and tedious. Writing is equally lacklustre with some of the lines feeling rather out of place in their desperate attempts to provide exposition. 

Should You Watch Romi?

You should only watch Romi if you are desperate for some “Sci-Fi” horror focused on a daft home assistant that manages to be less impressive than Alexa. And you really don’t want to be scared at all or to find the main character likable. If you don’t tick all of those boxes, just give it a miss.

Romi is dull, uninteresting and not at all scary. Maddie is an unlikable character who pouts around for well over an hour feeling mildly uncomfortable while you feel substantially bored and regretful at your movie choices. For a different movie with a smart house, check out our review of Shattered. It’s shit as well but at least Lilly Krug gets her boobs out.

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