Existentially scary with a satiric side

A brilliant robotics engineer (Allison Williams) at a toy company brings home a highly sophisticated “personal companion” robot to help her niece recover from the recent loss of her parents. Okay, yes, another spooky doll movie. But don’t be thinking Chuckie, Annabelle or Pennywise.

Any horror movie profits if its premise is generally within the realm of possibility, and this one brilliantly benefits from all the current debate about the threat, real or imagined, posed by Artificial Intelligence. Those above-mentioned creepos were made up. M3gan could happen.

You know that this living doll is sooner or later going to go all megabitch HAL, and it does, but thanks to its accessible themes, a slyly satiric screenplay and some unforced acting, this toy story stays grounded while it rises above the usual murderbot drivel. More campy fun than raw terror. You can’t kill these things, you know. Sequels, I mean. We’ll see more of M3gan.

One thing I can tell you about AI: It’ll never advance to the point where it can write a decent movie review…movie review…movie review. (102 min)