Mr. Puzzles Wants You To Be Less Alive is a 2021 CG animated horror short-film produced and released by Netflix as part of the Netflix by Bots series, in a first-of-its-kind production: It is written entirely by a bot, with some assistance from Keaton Patti, which watched over 400,000 hours of various horror films and shows, to create the ultimate horror experience.
Or that's what it says anyway... the fact it would take 200 years to make enough two-hour horror movies at a rate of a thousand per yearnote to amount to 400,000 hours hints that the claim may not be so serious and Patti may have had a bit larger role in the writing, such as doing all of it as a parody of both bots and horror movies.
Anyway, the AI technology of 2021 isn't exactly as... advanced as some would have you believe, and as a result the film is batshit crazy, a veritable horror-trope overdose, and is just coherent enough to be seriously funny.
The "plot", as it were, follows a woman named Jennifer, who was supposed to spend her Halloween at sexy summer camp who gets captured by an evil puppet with a mask from hell or Texas on a three-wheel unicycle named Mr. Puzzles, and forced to play his sadistic games. A veritable nightmare of chair saws, red coworker juice, and whales ensues.
The film is preceded by The First Stand-Up Comedy Special Written Entirely By Bots and followed by Carol's Christmas Carol for Carol, A Woman Named Carol 2: The sequel to Carol's Christmas Carol for Carol, A Woman Named Carol.
The entire film is available on the official Netflix Is a Joke Youtube channel here.
Beware of spoilers lest Mr. Puzzles stab the Consequences Button:
- Abnormal Ammo:
- The Detective's pistol shoots bottles of whisky. Unfortunately, he misses since his aim was alcohol.
- The cannon that sprays the coworker into red juice fires sharp rollerblades.
- Affectionate Parody: This is basically the best way to the describe the short, as it's overloaded with tropes from films such as Jennifer's Body, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Saw.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The antidote to the chair-saws is implied to be one, as it was revealed to be the ghost of an antidote murdered by a Polter Geisha 100 years ago when Jennifer tries grabbing it.
- The Alcoholic: The Detective is so drunk and haunted by sobriety that he can't even stand up straight for two seconds. His bullets are whisky bottles!
- Antagonist Title: Mr. Puzzles is the Big Bad of the film, and he would very much like you to be less alive.
- Artistic License – Law: It's not exactly certain how criminal law applies to non-living chair saws, but the whale regardless arrests and handcuffs (chainsawcuffs?) them.
- Asshole Victim: Jennifer's coworker had many families. It's safe to say he deserved it.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Mr. Puzzles kills Jennifer in the end and wins. He always wins.
- Batman Gambit: Jenny-fear pulls one by attempting to challenge Mr. Puzzles with a puzzle of her own. He is genuinely surprised and delighted, but alas the Detective ends up botching it.
- Blatant Lies: When Mr. Puzzles asks Jennifer what she did last summer, she lies through her teeth.Jennifer: (flashback of her driving a car) Gosh, do I enjoy driving whole under the influence of underage drugs. Oh no. A child made of corn. (runs over) Oh no. An afraidy Cougar. (runs over) Oh no. A man named Jason. (runs over) Oh no. A vampire doing an interview. (runs over) There was no way to prevent this.
Jennifer: I did normal summer activities.
Mr. Puzzles: Puzzle failed. I hope you have coupon for coffin. (stabs Consequences Button)
- Brutal Honesty: For such a bad liar, Jennifer is brutally honest.Detective: Sorry your coworker died.
Jennifer: It is okay. It is large company.
- The Cake Is a Lie: The first puzzle requires Jennifer to try and disable the chair saws with an antidote. But the fool had no idea that the antidote has been a ghost for a 100 years, murdered by a Polter Geisha!
- Captain Ersatz: Mr. Puzzles is one of Jigsaw, what with the deadly puzzles and using a puppet on a three-wheeled cycle to speak to his victims (though he uses a three-wheeled unicycle rather than a tricycle. And, yes, there is a difference: only one of the three-wheeled unicycle's wheels actually touches the ground, the other two stick out like wings).
- Captain Obvious: The narrator describes Jennifer dangling over a "vat" of chair saws as "not a normal Halloween for her".
- Chainsaw Good: As their name implies, the Chair-Saws are chairs made out of two chainsaws for armrests and a few buzzsaws in the back.
- Character Tic: Mr. Puzzles doesn't press the Consequences Button, he very specifically stabs it. The poor thing cries out in pain each time.
- Cool Bike: Mr. Puzzles rides a squeaky unicycle with three wheels! Does it even get cooler than that?
- Cool Chair: The first torture device is a chair with chainsaw armrests and buzzsaw backs, dubbed the chair saws. It's the furniture pain sits on.
- Cool Mask: Mr. Puzzles wears a red oni mask that was made either in hell or in Texas.
- Creepy Monotone: Pretty much everyone, given that they're voiced by diction software... But special mention goes out to Mr. Puzzles, whose sadism is downright terrifying with such a polite tone.
- Death Trap: Just like Jigsaw, Mr. Puzzles' entire schtick is a series of awful traps made to kill you, including chair saws, cannons that shoot razor-sharp rollerblades, a giant bowling ball with knives, and a boobly trap that drops a whale on you.
- Demonic Dummy: Mr. Puzzles is a puppet. And he is pure fucking evil.
- Deus ex Machina: There are....just a wee bit too many here to count. Which is pretty impressive given the short's 4-minute runtime
- Did Not See That Coming: Mr. Puzzles genuinely never expected Jennifer to challenge him with his very own puzzle.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Jennifer doesn't wear shoes, though she could just be a barefoot captive. Not enough of a runtime to get into the minutiae of it all.
- Downer Ending: Just when you think Jennifer survived and the heroes defeated the evil puppet....Mr. Puzzles wins again.
- Dynamic Entry: The Detective appears in the story by randomly smashing through the roof of the Rust Factory.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The film is called "Mr. Puzzles Wants You To Be Less Alive." You can guess what Mr. Puzzles doesn't want.
- Faking the Dead: The whale cop shoots Mr. Puzzles in the face, but he quickly reveals himself to be alive after the Detective rescues Jennifer, with two more puzzles in store for them.
- Flashback: Shortly before the events of the short, Jennifer is shown driving and running over several pedestrians while high off of underage drugs. Heavily implied to be the reason why she is being punished.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Viewers will notice that every time Mr. Puzzles stabs the Consequences Button, he's using a different knife, each one more elaborate and overkill than the last.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: In addition to ramming a corn kid and a furry with knife-fingers, Jennifer also ends up ramming a hapless vampire who's just doing an interview.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: It's impossible to beat one of Mr. Puzzles' puzzles.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: A variation. All Mr. Puzzles ever wanted was to have his own puzzle to solve.
- I Have a Family: The coworker reveals he for some reason has several. Doesn't save him though.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Detective's aim is alcohol (and his bullets are whisky), thus he can't hit for shit.
- Indy Escape: One of the puzzles features a giant bowling ball with knives rolling towards the Detective and Jennifer, made much more difficult with the two of them tied to giant bowling pins.
- Insane Troll Logic: Mr. Puzzles knows Jennifer's name because she has a body, and all Jennifers have bodies. This is a fallacy of affirming the consequent, and also, what.
- Intoxication Ensues: At some point during Jennifer's last summer, she drove under the influence of "underage drugs" and ended up running over at least 5 people, claiming there was no way to prevent it.
- Never Say "Die": Mr. Puzzles doesn't want you dead, he wants you to be "less alive" (as stated in the title).
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Jennifer could have very likely defeated Mr. Puzzles with her own puzzle, but just before she can present it the Detective gets up and shoots Mr. Puzzles. He fails, and all he accomplished was to piss off Mr. Puzzles.
- Parental Neglect: Jennifer...might not have the best mother in the world.Mr. Puzzles: Which house turns into hostel on a fully moon?
Jennifer: I don't know houses. I am a virgin. My dad will pay you to not kill me. My mom might not.
Mr. Puzzles: That is wrong house. Consequences. (stabs the Consequences Button).
- Psycho Knife Nut: Mr. Puzzles really likes his knife, and he really likes to stab the Consequences Button with it.
- Red Shirt: The coworker is on-screen just long enough for everyone to learn that he has many families, and then gets turned into red coworker juice.
- Sequel Hook: In the ending, Mr. Puzzles is revealed to be still alive, and Jennifer "screams the scream of many sequels" as she fails the chair puzzle.
- Stock Scream: The poor Consequences Button groans in pain each time Mr. Puzzles stabs it.
- Surreal Humor: Dear god.
- Tempting Fate: The Detective does this in the most hilariously cliched way possible.Detective: Mr. Puzzles is not here. He must be dead and gone forever.
Jennifer: Nice. I need relaxation. (her phone buzzes as she sits down on a chair saw) A text. But who knows I have phone?
Mr. Puzzles: You failed puzzle number five. Chair puzzle.
Jennifer: (screams the scream of many sequels as the chair saw begins to spin)
- Take That!: The ending unsubtly mocks horror movie sequels when Jennifer sits on a chair-saw.
- Too Dumb to Live: Jennifer decides to take a rest from her ordeal on a chair saw at the end. Take a guess as to what happens to her.
- Undercover Cop Reveal: The whale that squished the Detective is in actuality an underwater cop! And he brings a whole army of them along for the ride.
- Uncertain Doom: Since Jennifer screams the scream of many sequels at the end, it's not known if she died to Mr. Puzzles chair puzzle or if she lives and escapes Mr. Puzzles deadly grasp.