The king of current horror movies, director, writer and producer James Wan, returns today to Rosario theaters with “Megan”, the film centered on a dangerous doll that is very similar to a human. The Australian nationalized Malaysian filmmaker is the creator of the “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle” sagas, and has directed films such as “Evil”, “The Puppet”, “Death Sentence” and “The Game of Fear”. In “Megan” he is a producer and co-writer with Akela Cooper, while the direction was left in the hands of Gerard Johnstone. The film stars Allison Williams (“Run Away!”) and little Violet McGraw (“The Haunting of Hill House”).
“Megan” has already become a smash hit. Last Friday it premiered in the United States and managed to beat nothing less than “Avatar 2: the path of water”, one of the most anticipated productions of recent years. On its debut day alone, the horror film grossed $11.7 million, compared to $11.4 million for “Avatar 2.” “Megan” also beat box office predictions that it would make between $17 million and $20 million in its opening weekend, when it actually hit $30.2 million.
Much of the success is due to a marketing campaign that took “Megan” to tourist enclaves such as the Empire State or the New York subway, and flagship programs on American television such as Jimmy Fallon’s late night. In addition, the dance in the purest TikTok style of the doll has gone viral on social networks.
The story centers on Gemma, a woman who is left in charge of her niece Cady, who unfortunately lost her parents. Because Gemma has a demanding job and cannot take care of the little girl all the time, she decides to create Megan, a human-like doll programmed to be a child’s best company, through artificial intelligence. The doll has the ability to listen, watch and learn as she becomes a friend, teacher and ally to her assigned child.
Megan at first seems to be the perfect solution for Gemma, as the robot-doll takes her job very seriously. But the bond between Cady and Megan is so strong that the doll decides at all costs to protect her from her, and thus she will take revenge on anyone who dares to hurt her.
Although critics have found many similarities with other horror characters, such as Chucky or Annabelle, the truth is that the story of “Megan” is inspired by another movie. In an interview, screenwriter Akela Cooper revealed that she was inspired to write the story of “Megan” by the ventriloquist dummy Fats from the 1978 movie “Magic.” “My thing was ventriloquist dummies. I saw the movie “Magic” with Anthony Hopkins at a very young age and that consolidated certain concerns in my brain,” confessed the also fan of Chucky, the devilish doll, to which she added: “It was always my dream to create an iconic monster own”.
Cooper assured that both Wan and Jason Blum (the other producer) have considered working on more sequels to the terrifying doll. But the most interesting thing that the screenwriter mentioned during an interview with the Los Angeles Times is that they are already working on a more violent and uncensored cut of “Megan.” “There must be an unrated version at some point. I heard it’s in development. But yeah, it’s a lot more gore,” Cooper said. “Megan’s death toll was higher in the script; not as much as the Gabriel massacre in “Maligno,” but it did kill a lot more people,” she revealed.
The screenwriter, who also co-wrote “The Nun 2,” claimed that the doll even murdered some characters that Wan refused to let die in the film. “I like what you did with those people, but I want them to live,” exclaimed the famous producer. Cooper stated that her black humor could have gone further, but that she was “stopped” by the producers. So there could be more violent scenes in the new version.
James Wan has always been captivated by the idea of killer dolls. The first hints of him are offered in “The Game of Fear” (2004), where the killer Jigsaw uses a puppet to send messages to his victims as part of his deadly games. His next work, “The Puppet”, presents a curse caused by a gloomy ventriloquist dummy named Billy. But it’s “The Conjuring,” his hit horror franchise based on the paranormal cases facing Ed and Lorraine Warren, that openly features an evil doll known as Annabelle.
Where does this obsession with dolls that arouse terror come from? In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the producer shared the genesis of his love for creepy dolls. “’The Scare Game’ was definitely the first time I’d ever done that. People really liked it, so it was cool to realize that there are people who are just as disturbed as I am. I am very grateful for that,” he stated.
Later, the also director of “Aquaman” and “Fast and Furious 7” explained that it all started when he was a child after seeing one of the supernatural horror classics: “He was watching “Poltergeist” at a very young age. It was very influential for me. It made a great impression on me.” The Tobe Hooper-directed film, from a script by Steven Spielberg, featured a chilling attack scene involving a clown doll that Wan admitted scarred him for life. He also recognized that he is a great collector of toys and dolls: “I love my collectibles, my action figures. Naturally, the idea of making movies based on one of these things coming to life is exciting to me.”
Wan has never hidden his fascination with expanding his stories through sequels, but while speculation continues about a second part of “Megan” or the final closure of “The Conjuring”, the filmmaker is preparing his next big project: directing “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”, which will be released in December 2023.