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Morgan is a sci-fi/horror film that revolves around a young girl created in a lab from synthetic DNA. Morgan (played by The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy), is seemingly a happy, brilliant young girl, who now, when provoked, seems to exhibit psychotic tendencies. Director Jake Scott, (son of legendary director, Ridley Scott who also serves as a producer here) attempts to make Morgan a complex character study which poses questions such as can Morgan be saved? Does Morgan really have human emotions or was she just pretending the whole time? Unfortunately, all Scott manages to produce is a mediocre slasher film.
Around two or three minutes after the opening of the film, Morgan is speaking with Dr. Kathy Grieff. Kathy says something that annoys Morgan, who proceeds to violently stab her in the eye. Almost this entire sequence, is shown in the trailer. Also, upon viewing this at the beginning, you can make a very educated guess as to what direction this movie is going to take. Lee Daniels (Kate Mara), a risk management consultant from corporate is called in to investigate the flaw in the company’s prototype, and she must assess the prototype’s risk against the potential of company profit.
The movie’s main twist is given away in the first 10 minutes. After that you are basically paying for a low budget horror film that would probably be done better on Netflix. Morgan is advertised as sci-if as well as a psychological thriller, but in order for that concept to work, there must be suspense, and there is none. For the first forty-five minutes, there is a quite a bit of interaction between the characters. Character interaction that is supposed to make you understand why these people love Morgan so much and why the horrific stabbing should be considered an anomaly. But that does not happen at all. The interaction is all very banal. The only person who seems like they have a fully formed opinion on Morgan’s fate is Lee Daniels, and she has only been there for a couple of days.
There is no question in the audience’s mind if Morgan is crazy. An aspect that ruins any tension in this film. A key interaction between Morgan and another psychiatrist (Paul Giamatti) basically drives this point home. Although the scene is well-acted and Paul Giamatti is the best part of the movie, after that scene it is pretty much a countdown to when events will take an ugly turn.
Morgan is not the first of its genre (i.e. Ex-Machina, Splice) but it had the potential to the best. Morgan’s character needed more compassion and humanity besides what was told about it in flashbacks. The supporting characters are so dumb, it is as if the director could not decide if he wanted the scientists to love Morgan or be afraid of her and it caused a lot of confusion in the last half. And if you want the audience to believe Morgan is a normal girl, maybe she should have looked like one. It would have been a lot more terrifying if Morgan was a cute blonde in normal clothes, but instead she was painted silver, wore nothing but sweats and stuck out like a sore thumb. She looked like a killer.
Morgan is an ok slasher film and that’s about it. The performances are good, the cinematography was great and that’s about it. While watching, you cannot help that this film had potential to be great with a couple of script rewrites and character tweaks. But at a short run time of ninety two minutes, its good for a rental.