‘T.I.M.’ Review: Androids Really Dream About Killing You

T.I.M. is the latest entry into a new wave of thrillers using the advent of Artificial Intelligence to serve up a cautionary tale warning against the over-implementation of automation in our everyday lives. The pervasive tech has suddenly created a veritable offspring of films and TV shows over the last year alone. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One features an all-knowing AI known as “the Entity”. FX on Hulu’s A Murder at the End of the World depicts a computer-controlled doomsday scenario. And Mrs. Davis, from creators Damon Lindelof and Tara Hernandez, features a banished nun joining forces with an AI to locate the Holy Grail. There was also Gareth Edwards’ (Rogue One) return to epic sci-fi with The Creator. That’s already a lot.

A mostly effective horror sci-fi update of ’90s stalker films, T.I.M. (or Technologically. Integrated. Manservant.) is in a slightly different category than the movies listed above. Writer-director Spencer Brown’s first feature serves as another reminder to never, ever trust someone or something whose name is an acronym. Throughout cinema history, that’s never been a very good sign. M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android) reminded audiences of that fact just last year, in fact. 1985’s D.A.R.Y.L. (Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform) warned suburban families ages ago about a secret government project designing lovable, robot wunderkind.

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T.I.M., on the other end, posits the same fundamental question as Making Mr. Right starring John Malkovich and the recent German sci-fi romcom I’m Your Man featuring Dan Stevens (The Guest) as a humanoid heartthrob. Can a robot really replace someone you love? The answer seems to be a tentative “yes” as long as the proprietor of said android remembers to program a safe word into the mainframe.

Fresh off her memorable turn as an incredibly unlucky AirBnB user in Barbarian, Georgina Campbell plays Abi, a prosthetics engineer who makes the bad decision of taking her work home with her. At first, T.I.M. (a totally game Eamon Farren) seamlessly integrates into Abi’s home along with her apprehensive husband Paul (Mark Rowley). Inevitably, things go south. Fast. At first, T.I.M. operates as a life-size digital assistant performing everyday tasks that could be accomplished by any number of digital devices the couple already own. Gradually, T.I.M. starts to operate outside of his pre-existing guidelines as he starts to develop a sizable crush on Abi.

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Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for T.I.M. to break Isaac Asimov’s First Law of Robotics. From there, he begins to manipulate and distort the couple’s relationship with the intention of “protecting” Abi from Paul at any cost. As the titular threat, Farren seems to relish playing an unhinged android. All of the hallmarks of creepy robot antics are represented: standing lifeless lying in waiting in random rooms, blankly staring into space, suspiciously meddling in everyone’s private affairs, and using vocal tricks to impersonate hapless human beings. Farren is both endearing and off-putting at once. T.I.M. is always one step ahead of everyone else, and Farren delivers just the right amount of pathos to make it believable that Abi might take his side over the people she loves.

Brown’s script, along with co-writer Sarah Govett, almost makes it a little too easy for T.I.M. to completely take over, though. A few simple moves are all that’s needed to begin sewing seeds of suspicion between Abi, Paul, and their loyal friend Rose (Amara Karan). While it’s not entirely believable that T.I.M. could invade their lives so quickly, it does add a certain level of fear. T.I.M.’s plan is so deviously simple that it’s actually a little more frightening. How easy would it really be for a nefarious AI with a convincing layer of muscle and skin (and wavy blonde hair) to completely upend someone’s entire life? That answer probably depends on where you happen to stand with your spouse when a killer android saunters into your home.

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Aside from being a well-crafted thriller, T.I.M. is also pre-loaded with a fair amount of subtext. Issues of trust, the struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance, and the idea that we’re more comfortable around things than each other are all addressed. With all of the noise surrounding how much AI will change industries, T.I.M. is quietly asking how advancements in robotics, deepfake tech, and automation can undermine our personal lives as well. Maybe Brown’s film and the upcoming sequel to M3GAN will at least remind us humans to always remember where the off switch is.

  • T.I.M.


A fun if slightly predictable thriller that updates the stalker boyfriend and transforms him into an overzealous, murderous android.



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