By Jack McLaughlin
January is typically the month in which film studios put out forgettable or downright awful movies after the hot releases at the end of a year. “M3GAN” breaks this norm by being a wildly enjoyable watch.
Gemma (Allison Williams) is a tech wiz working for a toy company in charge of making the hottest new toys. A secret project of hers is M3GAN, a lifelike doll that uses artificial intelligence to become a strong companion with whomever its owner is.
Cady (Violet McGraw) is Gemma’s niece and after a family tragedy is now living with her and is gifted M3GAN to prove to her boss that the doll can be a huge success for their company.
However, things go awry once M3GAN grows more protective of Cady and progressively becomes more violent in the process.
“M3GAN” is the lighthearted start to this year that you will want to seek out. This horror flick is a pretty ridiculous concept, and it’s fully aware of that.
Its lighthearted tone stays consistent throughout. Nothing is supposed to be taken seriously, and the film does an excellent job perfecting that tone.
While the story of a doll becoming sentient with murderous intentions is not a wholly original idea, its modernization is executed in a way that helps you forget how done to death this story is.
The film has messages on the over-reliance on technology that is currently plaguing us, and this works to help modernize this story to be more relevant for younger viewers who can see this idea personified through a killer doll.
The performances are serviceable. The leads don’t stick out. However, there are supporting roles that will keep you anticipating their next over-the-top moment.
Ronny Chieng’s performance as Gemma’s boss perfectly embodies the ridiculous tone. His scenes are so campy that at times you may find yourself questioning if the film is a comedy skit.
For a horror film, it’s pretty tame in terms of its violence. There are few kills, and the ones that are here don’t go as far as you would expect, which is fine considering it targets a younger audience.
Without this key component, some of the movie can feel less like a horror movie and more like a parody of one, which has the risk of being distracting but manages to make it a smaller issue.
The titular character is a fun villain for this story. Her progressive descent into becoming a vicious threat is incredibly fun to witness.
Despite her performance being mostly comedic, she still manages to be sort of unsettling in a few moments but none of them stick out quite like her funnier ones.
The big downside to the tone is the lack of tension in any of the scenes. Most of the time you can’t wait to see what M3GAN ends up doing to her victims and those sequences are usually pretty funny.
A true standout moment is when M3GAN is chasing a kid through the woods who was bullying Cady. The way they made her movement was so strange and left the theater cracking up as she grew closer to her victim with this bizarre mobility.
In any other movie, this would have been played out as an intense and dramatic sequence that would have left you terrified in your seat. Here it’s one of the best scenes of the movie just because of how amusing it was.
This movie wasn’t trying to be groundbreaking or to completely redefine the horror genre. “M3GAN” is more interested in giving audiences a good time with an eerie concept that offers plenty of well-earned laughs.
While everything else about this film is standard and at points forgettable, the core of this movie is its absurdity and that is what will stay with you long after watching it.
B: The best start to 2023 that we could ask for