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Morgan is a suspense drama that plays like a modern-day Twilight Zone episode. It poses questions about humanity while delivering creepy sci-fi, psychological thrills, and a dose of horror.

The movie opens with a terrifying lab incident captured on security footage that calls for damage control from corporate. Risk management consultant Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) arrives at the secluded facility to assess the situation. While apparently a lot has been invested in this experiment, Weathers must determine if the dangers outweigh the investment.

At the facility’s enclosure she meets Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy), an engineered human. Morgan is organic, but her DNA has been manipulated, resulting in a high IQ, accelerated growth, and hints of superhuman abilities. Morgan was “born” five years ago, but she appears as a teenage girl. Slightly androgynous looking, she wears a grey hoodie and has a pale, luminescent skin tone. She expresses emotional language, but has a stoic delivery.

Pressures build as the team who provide for Morgan’s care and monitoring are guarded against Weathers. They are protective of their creation. To Weathers, she is a product, while to the others, who have been with Morgan for the last five years, have taken on a parental attachment. While Morgan’s physicality isn’t threatening, it’s clear that Morgan isn’t exactly Vicki the robot from Small Wonder.

 The audience sees hints that Morgan is dangerous, and the movie hinges on whether she will become a vicious threat, or if she is a sort of Pinocchio – just an innocent who didn’t ask for this and just wants to take a walk in the woods. Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) is very impressive as Morgan. She effectively switches between looking sinister and then coming across as a vulnerable, doe-eyed 12-year-old. The role also challenges her to convey the awe of experiencing life and human emotions for the first time, while also displaying great physical strength and presence. If The Hunger Games were being casted all over again, Taylor-Joy could easily be in the running for Katniss Everdeen.

Kate Mara (The Martian) does well in a role that is different from her other work. The character does not have a lot of development, but the audience gets a feel for who Weathers is with Mara’s presentation of austere professionalism. With her short hair, cool composure, and perfect posture, she is reminiscent of her House of Cards costar Robin Wright as Claire Underwood. Like Taylor-Joy, Mara is slight in appearance, but owns a fierce presence and is wholly believable in action scenes. It’s refreshing to see a film of this genre come along with two very strong female leads.

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One of the film’s strongest aspects is the fun of seeing the stellar supporting cast in a story brimming with horror tensions. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Yeoh, Toby Jones, and especially Paul Giamatti appear in brief but awesome sequences.

Luke Scott seems to be taking inspiration from his father, director Ridley Scott. Morgan has a few shades of Blade Runner and Alien, but it is a solid directorial debut. A scene where Morgan is psychologically evaluated is a standout and fraught with mounting tension. The third act looses some of the edge that the first part sets up, but definitely includes several thrilling moments.

The screenplay by Seth W. Owen wrestles with the moral dilemma and ethical nature of bioengineering. With designer babies and realistic artificial intelligence an ever-growing reality, Morgan is all the more chilling. While not quite the visual and storytelling wonder that was Ex Machina, those who appreciate thoughtful horror will likely enjoy Morgan.