WATCH: 'Ex Machina' examines love and exploitation in the age of AI

Next Friday, January 23, Alex Garland's highly-anticipated directorial debut Ex Machina opens in the UK, with a US release scheduled for April.

Garland, best known for writing 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go, has created what Variety calls a "digital-age 'Frankenstein' refashioned as a battle of the sexes." The Guardian examines the film in the context of cinema's historic obsession with sexy female robots:

"Our machines are projections of us. They're dreams or metaphors for our own anxieties," says Sophie Mayer, a lecturer in film studies at Queen Mary University of London, who has written on robotics and gender in cinema. "Metropolis was made at the height of Freud and women's suffrage and the communist struggle around male labour." Often the anxiety in question in these movies is female empowerment, says Mayer. "Cyborgs have powers and freedoms that human females are rarely allowed to have. They misunderstand the rules about gender behaviour. They can be more sexually aggressive." Ultimately, these empowered women must be punished. Metropolis's robot Maria is burnt at the stake like a witch, for example. "The resolution always assures us the status quo is going to be preserved."

Ex Machina website (