Friendship has evolved.
M3GAN is a 2023 science fiction horror film directed by Gerard Johnstone, written by Akela Cooper, produced by Blumhouse Productions, Atomic Monster Productions, and Divide/Conquer, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film stars Allison Williams and Violet McGraw. A sequel is in development.
"I won't let anything harm you." - M3GAN
Roboticist Gemma's whole world changes when she suddenly takes custody of her nine-year-old niece, Cady, after her parents are killed in a car crash. To help Cady cope with this trauma, Gemma builds M3GAN, a robotic doll that adapts to situations around her. As M3GAN gains more experience with the world around her, she goes rogue and becomes much more dangerous than Gemma could've ever imagined.
If you don't know, January horror films have a reputation for being awful. However, over the past few years, this trend has begun to change. Get Out and Scream have both been January horror movies, and they came out in 2017 and 2022 respectively. Does M3GAN help break the streak or does it continue the trend?
And, to be honest, neither. No movie is comparable to Get Out and M3GAN is not as good as Scream, but it's decent.
This film knows what it is. It's not that original. It's not reinventing the horror genre. It's an entertaining, dumb horror movie that continues this new "tech horror" subgenre that we've been getting over the past few years. It doesn't take itself that seriously. It isn't trying to be the coolest new thing. It's trying to deliver an entertaining time at the movies, and that's what it does.
M3GAN herself is also fun and memorable. I wouldn't say she's the "next iconic horror villain" like Art the Clown or something, but she's probably the most entertaining aspect of the film. She's quirky and childish while also being a scary robot doll. They do some cool things with her voice and her abilities that I really enjoyed and I think can be expanded upon in a sequel.
The film also does a good job of delivering subtle messages about technology distracting you from real life. It's very much a social commentary on today's day and age, and it just makes the movie all the better for it. It isn't heavy handed with its messaging. It doesn't try to convince people that technology is going to destroy humanity. It's just weaved in throughout the story and themes, and I really appreciated that.
I do want to say this: people have been labeling M3GAN as a horror-comedy...and I don't think that's accurate at all. There are funny moments and it can be silly at times, but it definitely is not a comedy at all. It's dark and scary and violent. I think it doe shave a slightly different tone than most horror films because of its goofiness, but that does not mean it's a comedy at all. Do not go in thinking that this is a funny movie. It's not.
Obviously, M3GAN is not a great movie.
Like I said, it's fun. It's decent. But it is not at all deserving of a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's insane. It's not that good.
First off, the film just has many lapses in logic and a few minor plot holes. I'm never a huge fan of doll horror movies, because it feels like it's so easy to beat the doll. M3GAN's like, four feet tall. Most of the people that are killed by her could probably just run away or avoid her. She also just has new powers any time it's convenient for the plot to give her some, which I really wasn't a fan of.
Some of the things that happen in this movie are just really dumb. Every decision that these characters make is wrong. Every decision eventually leads to them being killed or M3GAN becoming more powerful. It's so stupid. Allison Williams's character, the aunt, continues to give her niece more time with M3GAN when it's obviously becoming dangerous, and it's so frustrating, because no parent / guardian would ever do that. There's a dog that bites a kid...and no one faces consequences. The dog isn't taken into animal control or put down. I don't know. A lot of it doesn't make sense.
The film also has some really odd moments in it. There's a scene where a kid is tragically killed (it's shown in the trailer so that's not a spoiler) and another character responds to that by saying "He's in a better place". Like...no! He's a kid! He died! And you're saying "he's in a better place"?? C'mon, screenwriters. Be better.
The movie also leaves a lot of plot threads dangling. Now, a sequel has been confirmed, so I might take this criticism back in the future, but there are so many things left unresolved. There are characters that should be in trouble. There are dead bodies discovered in very public places, but nothing really happens with them after that. I'm hoping they fix these things in the next film, but it's frustrating that they weren't wrapped up here.
Final Thoughts and Score
M3GAN isn't high-end cinema and isn't a great movie at all, but it's a fun horror film that has really good, subtle commentary on technology and the places that we're headed in the future.
I will go Savory here. Age range is 12+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
Fun Factor: 7.5/10
Story: 6.5/10 Characters: 6/10
Directed by Gerard Johnstone
Rated PG-13 for frightening themes and images, moderate violence and gore, moderate language, thematic elements
Released on January 6, 2023
1 hour and 42 minutes
Allison Williams as Gemma
Violet McGraw as Cady
Ronny Chieng as David
Amie Donald as M3GAN
Jenna Davis as M3GAN (voice)
Brian Jordan Alvarez as Cole
Jen Van Epps as Tess
Stephane Garneau-Monten as Kurt
Lori Dungey as Celia
Amy Usherwood as Lydia
Jack Cassidy as Brandon