Published Jan. 30, 2023
By AINSLEY HENDERSON
After a vicious guerilla marketing campaign, which involved M3GAN-inspired dancers descending on New York City’s streets, NFL fields and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” alongside a spew of social media content, Blumhouse Productions’ “M3GAN” appeared appalling, but on screen it comes across as more of a mildly absurd, disconcerting comedy with a little bit of gore thrown in.
The movie begins with 8-year-old Cady (Violet McGraw) and her parents, who neglected to put chains on their car’s tires, traveling in the snow. After being forced to stop in the middle of the road, the family car is hit by a snow plowing vehicle, orphaning Cady. Subsequently, she is placed in her aunt Gemma’s (Allison Williams) care.
Prior to Cady’s arrival, Gemma, a brilliant roboticist, had been charged with designing line after line of Furby-like robots, for Funki, a toy company. Pushed to a deadline for more robot pets by her boss, Gemma makes the choice to finish a Model 3 Generative Android-M3GAN for short-prototype instead, and give it to Cady.
The M3GAN doll is beautiful, incredibly lifelike, and designed to play the role of a child’s playmate and teacher. She is a perfect example of the uncanny valley theory, which contributes to the majority of the film’s horror factor. Voiced by Jenna Davis and portrayed on screen by Amie Donald, M3GAN spends the majority of the movie being a helpful, albeit a little unsettling, force.
Unlike most horror movies, “M3GAN” is kind of funny. Too funny. Even the artificially intelligent robot, the antagonist, has a few bits, including performing a robotic rendition of David Guetta’s “Titanium (feat. Sia)” to a drowsy Cady. The random humor is atypical for a horror movie, and while unexpected, it makes “M3GAN” a little more interesting.
Up until the climax, humor and occasional jumpscares rule the film. No spoilers, but the last few scenes, save for M3GAN’s murderous dance, are incredibly predictable. It’s exactly how the majority of horror movies end. Yawn.
Even though the plot is not incredible, 12-year-old Amie Donald’s portrayal of the murderous AI is intriguing. The breakout star does all her own stunts, including running across a forest on all fours. Albeit mildly creepy, that’s a pretty cool ability.
Star Allison Williams acts well, and Ronny Chieng, who plays Gemma’s boss David, is hilarious; he plays the part of a greedy, anxious corporate man well.
Essentially, “M3GAN” is a disconcerting twist on any old horror movie. It’s comparable to “Frankenstein” or “Child’s Play,” and hopefully the rumored sequel proves to be more original.