If we hear the words “creepy doll movie”, we think of films such as “Annabelle” and “Child’s Play”. After the first appearance of Chucky in 1988, the doll-horror genre has taken off steadily. Thanks to “M3GAN”, the genre is now again getting an enormous and well-deserved boost. This latest movie from director Gerard Johnstone (“Housebound”) is the perfect mix of horror, tongue-in-cheek humour and entertainment.
After her sister and brother-in-law lost their lives in a car crash, roboticist and high-tech toy designer Gemma (Allison Williams) becomes her niece’s guardian. Taking care of Cady (Violet McGraw) won’t be easy. Not only because Cady doesn’t open up a lot but also because Gemma is so caught up in her job that she barely has time for the teenager.
Their relationship becomes even more complicated when Gemma faces much more trouble at work. Her Funky Toy boss David Lin (Ronny Chieng), wants her to keep manufacturing the extremely popular Purrpetual Pets, but Gemma wants to take it in another direction. She wants to create an AI doll who looks, talks and feels like a real human being.
While her M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android) prototype isn’t approved the first time, Gemma doesn’t give up on what she believes in, especially when she realizes that M3GAN is the solution to her problems; the nagging boss and the problematic relationship with Cady. Gemma updates M3GAN, completes her, and integrates a pairing option.
During the test run in front of her boss, Gemma decides to pair M3GAN with Cady in the hope that the AI will be the friend Cady needs. It seems that Gemma’s plan has worked! Her boss is highly impressed and wants to roll out the mass fabrication of M3GANs, and Cady has been happier than she’s been in a long time. Her connection between her and M3GAN grows organically and becomes stronger each day. All seems to be going well until M3GAN’s influence over Cady becomes too powerful…
Even before M3GAN was released, the movie had already gained a cult status, particularly the famous hall dancing scene. The M3GAN dance scene has been re-created during almost every red carpet event. Despite already some memorable moments in the trailers, M3GAN still has a lot of high-quality entertainment to offer.
When watching “M3GAN”, you wouldn’t think that this movie is Akela Cooper her second film. After creating, Malignant, she became a pro at writing great horror screenplays. This time is no different, especially because she co-wrote the story with James Wan (“Saw”, “The Conjuring”). While “M3GAN” doesn’t have a lot of jump scares and bloody moments, it’s incredibly sleek, modern, creepy and thrilling. The combination of comedy and horror works very well.
While the horror, fun and entertaining aspects are superior to the performances, it doesn’t mean that the acting is terrible. On the contrary, the most standout performances come from Jenna Davis and Amie Donald. Who? The two girls who are portraying M3GAN together. Davis provides the voice, and Donald the physical acting.
Their doll has it all: Human intellect, an eye for fashion, a lot of flair and artificial emotional intelligence. It all adds up, and M3GAN becomes the diva of this movie. Williams (“Get Out”, “The Perfection”) delivers an exceptional performance as a single woman who is used to creating the most innovative toys but not used to taking care of a child. She makes it crystal clear that Gemma’s better with technology than with humans.
After appearing in “Doctor Sleep” and “The Haunting of Hill House”, portraying a sweet, vulnerable and strongminded child is no problem for McGraw. From anxiety to sadness and frustration to love, she ensures you can sympathize with Cady every second of the film. Also, the supporting performers such as Chieng (“Crazy Rich Asians”, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) and Lori Dungey, Gemma’s next-door neighbour Celia, add a lot of hilarious moments to this movie.
It’s a shame that M3GAN makes her first appearance until about 30 minutes in. This film has a runtime of only 102 minutes, so the main character should have been introduced much sooner. If the movie had lasted two hours or more, this wouldn’t have been a problem. Also due to the PG-13 rating, M3GAN is less terrifying and bloody than it could and should have been.
They always say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Well, that’s not true anymore. M3GAN is the only friend you’ll need from now on. While her movie is a bit too short (maybe this means that a sequel will follow with more of the unused footage?), “M3GAN” provides you with the right amount of scares, tongue-in-cheek humour, and stunning performances. So take your friends to see this movie to welcome another member to the club!
13th January 2023
THE QUICK SELL
A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own.