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Stars: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti

Director: Luke Scott

It’s sometimes claimed in the annals of Hollywood nepotism that “the son also rises”.

Unhappily, not here.

Luke Scott, son of Alien, Thelma and Louise and The Martian director Ridley Scott, regrettably misses the mark with this derivative shocker which, despite obvious echoes of Ex Machina, owes much more (unacknowledged) to Mary Shelley’s creature creation classic Frankenstein.

Seth Owen’s lumpy screenplay introduces the eponymous Morgan, a DNA created-human female played by Anya Taylor-Joy who, while apparently fully formed as a teenage woman, is intellectually only five years old and initially behaves badly by stabbing doctor Jennifer Jason Leigh in the eye.

Enter icy risk management executive Kate Mara who has been sent by the company who bankrolled the experiment to the isolated unit where Morgan lurks in her glass cage. Mara’s mission – which she has accepted – is to decide whether to continue to invest in the project or pull the plug on Morgan…

Before long, as Mara begins to interact with Taylor Joy, genre clichés rain down and Morgan turns increasingly nasty…

The cast works hard – Toby Jones furrows his brow credibly as a dubious scientist - but like Morgan, Mara is suitably cold and Taylor-Joy does what a scientific creation has to do; but, as the story staggers to its predictable climax like a exhausted android, only shockfilm neophytes might be surprised.

Technically, the film, produced by Luke’s father Ridley, is effective enough, with Mark Patten’s atmospheric cinematography a major asset.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 08 Sep 2016