Director Gerard Johnstone
Starring Allison Williams, Violet McGraw
Scott’s Review #1,338
Reviewed January 31, 2023
M3GAN (2023) is the sleeper hit of the year, quickly becoming a ‘water-cooler’ topic (remember that phrase?) after getting stagnant cinema lovers back into theaters in droves.
Released in the traditionally dismal month of January when studios usually ‘dump’ film releases with little or no bang for their buck M3GAN is already set to spawn a sequel. The possibilities for a different story to correlate with the original are endless.
The poster (see above) and the movie trailer are instantly grabbing. We see a doll-like/robotic little girl with long flowing blonde hair and mesmerizing, sparkling eyes that are cat-like and creepy.
Almost life-like, it doesn’t take a genius to conjure images of the Chucky doll from the Child’s Play franchise (1988-2019). Seemingly lovable but turning sinister, the concepts are more or less the same.
When robotics engineer Gemma (Allison Williams) takes in her orphaned niece, Cady (Violet McGraw), she creates the perfect companion for her, a lifelike doll named M3GAN, who serves as a friend, confidante, and sensible role model.
Cady and M3GAN immediately bond and become inseparable pals.
M3GAN can listen, watch and learn from other people and objects as they relate to Cady, using advanced Artificial Intelligence to store their idiosyncrasies.
As expected, things soon go awry when M3GAN uses her superior intelligence to destroy anyone who she perceives as a threat to Cady.
I’m not one to suggest a film tone down the blood and gore in a horror film but in the case of M3GAN, it works to the film’s advantage as proven by tremendous box-office receipts.
Far from kid-friendly, one of the main characters is eight to ten years old which might encourage parents, especially parents who are horror fans, to take their youngsters to see the film. At first, Cady and M3GAN invoke an idealized pre-teen female relationship, and a bully intent on harming Cady gets his comeuppance.
Most of the other characters who suffer dire fates are unlikeable. A boorish neighbor, a vicious dog, Gemma’s obnoxious boss, and his conniving assistant all get their due one way or another at the hands of M3GAN.
She’s not exactly a ‘hero’ but the fun is watching hated characters suffer at her hands. The setup is perfected as each character reveals their obnoxiousness to the rabid audience thirsting for a slashed throat or two.
My point is that parents and kids alike can enjoy this film and simultaneously share a startle and a giggle.
The campy nature of the film is another win since the humor evens out the horror elements. There are enough funny lines, mostly delivered by the supporting players, to evoke laugh-out-loud moments.
The grand finale is inevitable and predictable by enjoyable because it’s what the audience can’t wait for. M3GAN, once prim and proper in her little girl dress, shrieks and spits curses at her former friends as her now disfigured face and ravaged hair makes her look disheveled and monstrous.
M3GAN’s true colors are revealed and the audience will hoot and holler with delight.
Unlike many films, M3GAN goes right for the jugular in the first scene with a deadly car accident and keeps the fast pace for the entire one hour and forty-two minute running time.
Williams, well-known for starring in Jordan Peele’s 2017 masterpiece Get Out scores another win in the central role. She capably plays a loving yet an inexperienced surrogate parent and carries the film, along with M3GAN of course.
Incorporated is a relevant knock on mass consumption of technology gadgets and a robot replacing good parenting. This is more evidence that parents should see M3GAN.
I can’t wait to see what the writers next have in store for the little terror when the sequel drops.