Last time, we talked about how Gemma gave Cady, her niece, a robotic doll, Megan, to help her raise the child after Cady’s parents were killed. At first, things go smoothly enough, but then Megan is attacked by a dog. The writers seem to have given us two potential theories about what’s happening. The first is that the robot is going through some sort of awakening right at the beginning. Megan has overridden the various safety protocols put in place to keep the robot from hurting people, and it’s only pretending to be protective of Cady. The second option is that during this dog attack, the fail safes malfunction, and this enables the robot to go on its murderous rampage. The second option creates a coherent story, but the first raises numerous questions.
In any case, Megan begins her killing spree by getting even with the dog. She mimics the owner’s voice and lures the dog to the fence where she ends the poor beast’s life. When Gemma wakes up in the morning, she hears the neighbor calling out for her pet, and while she is glad that the violent animal is gone, she begins to wonder if the doll had something to do with it.
For a time, nothing else happens, but Megan does begin to undermine Gemma in small ways whenever she tries to do something as simple as make Cady eat her lunch. Gradually, Cady becomes more hostile to Gemma. However, Gemma isn’t quite ready to give up on the Megan project because a second demonstration of the robot’s capabilities goes extraordinarily well, and the board decides to green-light the mass production of Megan. So, despite the robot’s subtle antics, things are still looking up, but then, Gemma decides to take Cady to a gathering so she can play with other kids. There, an overgrown bully begins to give Cady a hard time. As he’s pushing the girl around, Megan appears, and being the snide child that he is, the bully decides to take the doll and carries her into the woods. This is a poor choice. Before long, the doll wakes up and attacks.
One very lame aspect of this scene is the way the doll runs when she chases the bully. I know somebody wanted to use this odd moment to make the movie seem creepy, but I found it hard not to laugh because the doll looked more like a clumsy horse. I couldn’t help but wonder why the doll was running like that. It doesn’t make her faster, and who programmed the “gallop like a horse” function in the first place?
The bully foolishly runs onto the road and is hit by a car. The movie implies that Megan knew the car was coming, but I didn’t buy it. How could the robot know when to herd the bully onto the road considering the fact that the kid could run in any direction, and there was always a chance the car would stop in time?
Whether Megan ran the bully onto the road intentionally or not, Cady covers for the robot by lying to Gemma about where Megan was during this incident. The doll doesn’t admit to Cady what she did, but she does tell the girl that the bully’s death is a good thing.
Matters escalate further when the neighbor who lost her dog blames Gemma for taking it. Megan decides that the owner has breathed her last and lures the neighbor into a shed by mimicking the dog’s bark. Here was one of the lamest parts of the movie. This is how the robot does the old woman in. Megan takes a power washer and . . . soaks the woman to death? Even by slasher film standards that’s weak. I’m sure spraying anyone in the face with a power washer isn’t going to be pleasant, but I doubt it would kill somebody. I mean, maybe if the hose was connected to a firetruck, but not some cheap power washer used for cleaning a driveway. Furthermore, it would take a long time to kill someone that way. Surely, the old woman would’ve gotten loose before Megan was done. And why bother with such an elaborate death to begin with? She’s a robot! Super strength comes with the package. There are a dozen different ways the writers could’ve handled the scene that would’ve been more believable. But I suppose shock trumps substance when it comes to slasher films. We’re not supposed to be taking this too seriously, but sometimes things become so extreme that anyone can be pulled out of a scene, no matter how campy the movie is supposed to be.
Once the neighbor dies, Gemma is pretty sure Megan is the culprit, so she goes to her computer and tries to look up the robot’s video files; however, the files are all corrupted. Gemma is certain there’s a problem, so she shuts Megan down and takes her back to the lab. Cady is unhappy about this, but Gemma still brings Cady with her . . . for some reason.
The writers don’t say why Gemma decided to drag Cady along, but the next scene shows the girl screaming and throwing things while the social worker attempts to calm her down. At the same time, Gemma is watching Cady through a one-way mirror, discussing the situation with her assistants. After that, Gemma and Cady have a nice scene together where the child finally talks to her aunt about the death of her parents. In some ways, I liked this scene, and in other ways, I didn’t. On the one hand, I’m not sure why the social worker had to come to Gemma’s lab rather than Gemma taking the child to the social worker’s office. It seemed like a very forced setup. I also felt like the death of Cady’s parents at the beginning of the movie was so jarring that the whole subplot seemed out of place in a slasher film. On the other hand, I liked the scene itself because such moments help attach the audience to the characters. They make the viewer want to root for the protagonists and help raise the stakes of the story. So, I had mixed feelings at this point of the movie. We’ll cover the conclusion in the next review.