Film review: ‘M3GAN’


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By Nick Glover, Lifestyle Editor

Editor’s Note: This review will contain spoilers, so read with caution.

The first few weeks of January, at least in the film industry, are when studios drop the movies that didn’t turn out well. These weeks are the garbage dump of the film calendar year.

“M3GAN,” the newest piece of the constant stream of killer doll movies, had two separate release dates in January, which tells you what the expectations are: twice the garbage as normal January releases.

While it was first set to release on Jan. 13, its release date was moved up a week to Jan. 6, according to Forbes.

Combining this information with the trailer that seemed to lack any degree of horror, rather, focusing on the doll doing TikTok dances mid-murder, the film seemed to be destined for the $3 DVD bin at Walmart.

What “M3GAN” actually had in store was even more surprising: it was great.

While the movie certainly is not the most intellectual or artsy film, it does what it is trying to do really well.

This plot is certainly a bit absurd, but that is what the movie is trying to do. “M3GAN” is not trying to be “Childsplay” or “Annabelle,” nor is it trying to be a pure horror movie. Instead, “M3GAN” is purposefully campy; it wants to combine horror and humor to create an almost satirical film that critiques technology and the overuse of the technology that makes up the doll.

The film details newly orphaned 9-year-old Cady’s (Violet McGraw) life as she moves to live with her workaholic aunt, Gemma (Allison Williams). While Gemma is hard at work developing a human-like artificial intelligence powered android, she realizes that this doll, M3GAN (Jenna Davis), could become a new coping mechanism for Cady.

As M3GAN develops its generative intelligence, Cady forms a deep connection to it, replacing the feelings that she would have had towards her parents with this doll.

Since the doll has the mission to keep Cady safe, when Cady slowly delves back into the real world, the doll starts to hurt those who become aggressive toward Cady, seeing this aggression as a threat on Cady’s life.

By the end of the film, M3GAN even tries to kill Gemma, as the robot’s programming has started to become flawed, seeing anything limiting Cady’s happiness as an outright assault on her.

The film’s final scenes have Cady save Gemma’s life as M3GAN is just about to kill her. As the two leave the house for the hospital, after confirming that M3GAN is truly dead, the virtual assistant that Gemma keeps on the counter turns on, only for the audience to see, reminding the viewer that M3GAN, and the technology she represents, is everywhere.

“M3GAN” was scary, not because of any of the murders, but because it could totally happen. Most horror movies rely on magic or curses to make their monster, but for “M3GAN” the monster is us, the humans. Yes, technically the monster is the doll, but it is the want to replace the human connection, to supplement life with these untested and unknown technologies, where the evil stems from.

While the elements that could have been its downfall were certainly there – don’t get me started on the TikTok dance that M3GAN does right before she kills Gemma’s boss – the film somehow is better for them. Any absurdity that the film contains actually makes the points that the film is trying to make, any overacting fits the campy, over-the-top nature of the film.

Though the film will never be on the level of “Casablanca,” I think it has the power to be something like “Harvey,” a cult-classic film that defies genres and, truthfully, all description with a small yet devoted fanbase.

“M3GAN 2.0” is already in the plans with a tentative release date of Jan. 17, 2025, according to Deadline.