The trailer for this James Wan-produced killer AI doll horror was something of a viral sensation out of the gate. This writer did not catch wind of it until he saw some of the stunts pulled by Universal’s marketing team putting Meg3an.s in places building for social media showcases doing robotic dances. One look at the trailer sale this is a very standard killer toy movie with the borderline expected slowed-down supposedly eerie cover of a pop song. In this case, Taylor Swift’s “It’s Nice to Have a Friend.” This viewer’s impression of the trailer having seen the marketing was a pretty definitive “that’s all this was. Well, it certainly looks stupid.” Thus he was surprised to see when the opening weekend came around to see a finished film debuting far better reveals than expected in some quarters. Was this thing good in taking a very stock slasher plot and being able to do something interesting with it? let’s find out.
The answer to the proposed question depends on what you’re looking for. If one wants to see an entertainingly stupid slasher movie with some dumb kills and ridiculous moments make three and is pretty effective at delivering a ridiculously silly turn-your-brain-off Friday night horror movie. From the very first scene, however, it’s clear that on some level the very stupid-looking AI doll/ movie wants to say something about consumerist culture. Allison Williams plays an overworked robotics engineer who has to take in her screen-time-focused niece after the death of her parents in a car crash. Thus the new maternal figure decides that she is going to use her technological focus as the incentive to build her charge a new robotic friend in the form of Megan. This entire unbelievably basic strand of story and attempted social commentary is done with all the subtlety of a hammer blow to the face. It’s like RoboCop if it was written by your sozzled wine mom telling their nieces nephews and grandchildren to take it easy concerning screen time and reliance on technology. After an exceptionally dull first act, this watcher was on one level pleased to see that things picked up significantly when it becomes the film that audiences came here to see very veering on just the right side of entertainingly ridiculous. Much as the final product here might not be touching any pretensions towards the pretentious vein of elevated horror it’s also nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is even to pull off a surface-level amount of potential subtext.
The screenplay is from the writer of Malignant a movie that also offers nothing but functionality for 75% of its running time before going completely insane in that astonishing extended showdown that was incredibly glorious and cathartic. It had also been teased from the very opening scene. Megan is probably more consistent than that across the entire film but does not have the insane high point of Malignant’s third act. That said it does not commit hard enough to just being an entertainingly silly slasher movie to be worth an unqualified recommendation. There’s eventually enough functionally ridiculous delivery on the premise here that it’s not hard can see why it has done well at the box office with the first sequel already guaranteed.
Megan is entertainingly stupid enough as a functional piece of genre entertainment to probably get a pass from a lot of viewers. There’s enough fun to be had In watching the camp AI robot go on its killing spree that fans of ridiculous genre entertainment may well get something out of it. How much better would the film have been without the persistent need to fall on its face in attempting to say something? At the very least it’s not hard to see why it’s become a breakout hit. However, the abject failure in the screenplay’s attempt at “social commentary prevents this author from giving it even a qualified recommendation as a full final product.