M3gan stands for Model 3 Generative Android. She is intended to be the last toy a child will ever need. The PG-13 sci-fi horror film revolves around a toy company called Funki. Despite their Purrpetual Pets being a huge hit, Funki is looking for something groundbreaking since a cheap knockoff of their best seller is currently taking over the toy market.
M3gan is a $100,000 prototype designed by toy roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams, Get Out). M3gan bonds with her owner and evolves into a member of the family. With work on M3gan still to be completed and a cheaper version of the Purrpetual Pets due ASAP, Gemma is pulled away from work when she suddenly becomes the guardian of her niece Cady (Violet McGraw, The Haunting of Hill House).
Cady and M3gan become incredibly close, which is good for investors. But Gemma begins to notice that M3gan is operating outside of her parameters which includes disturbing behavior and a short list of victims where M3gan is the prime suspect.
Written by Akela Cooper (Malignant) and James Wan (the Saw and Conjuring franchises) and directed by Gerard Johnstone (Housebound), M3gan capitalizes on a concept executed by the likes of Child’s Play, Terminator, and I, Robot and reprograms the familiar into a film that is surprisingly creepy and genuine.
The downside is that the film still suffers from the usual aspects found within the genre; particularly PG-13 horror. The foreshadowing in the film is beyond obvious as M3gan generally rubs the audience’s nose in foreseeable plot devices before actually pulling the trigger. The dog next door as well as Gemma’s neighbor Celia (Lori Dungey, the Power Rangers franchise) are the most memorable examples.
How Gemma’s college robot Bruce is going to factor into the finale of the film is also predictable the moment he’s introduced. The buildup to their fates is more of a slow crawl to the inevitable rather than a potentially surprising outcome.
The acting is also subpar at best. Allison Williams delivers a solid and believable performance in Get Out, but seems to struggle with her performance in M3gan. Anything involving scientific explanation or involving her toy and robotic work is passable, but her emotional delivery suffers. She looks to be holding back laughter for the majority of the film.
Gemma’s boss David (Ronny Chieng, Godzilla vs. Kong) the CEO of Funki, has some of the worst dialogue delivery in the film. Both are outclassed by Violet McGraw, who absolutely crushes it as Cady with believable emotion and a heartbreaking demeanor.
The film will have obvious comparisons to the likes of Child’s Play, but M3gan offers much more than just a female version of Chucky.
Being more similar to the 2019 technology-infused remake of Child’s Play over the original 1988 film, M3gan focuses more on the psychology of losing a loved one, the devastating grief that comes with it, as well as who or what we latch on to in order to cope with that loss and move on with our lives.
The concept of a parent throwing their child in front of a TV, video game, or iPad over actually spending time with them or teaching them right from wrong is also quite important in M3gan. M3gan becomes Cady’s addiction as she throws tantrums and lashes out whenever she can’t spend time with the android.
Interestingly enough, M3gan is said to have originally been more of an R-rated film with much more gore. The film was trimmed down to PG-13; not only for hopeful financial purposes but also because the filmmakers believed that the film is creepier with a less is more approach. This seems true with the way the film unfolds. M3gan’s shortcomings are mostly forgotten about once she has her interactions with Brandon (Jack Cassidy) in the forest.
Shocking moments like this are brilliant examples of the laugh-out-loud humor featured in the film, which makes the film far more entertaining than expected.
Even with some sketchy acting and predictable story elements, M3gan is a massively entertaining horror film that kicks off a new year of movies to exceed expectations with a lethally robotic and electrifying bang. This is typically the month studios dump movies that have been shelved for long periods of time or are generally known to be terrible, but M3gan reboots the month of January with outrageously fun PG-13 horror.
- Has surprisingly solid psychological and emotional elements.
- Is genuinely creepy at times despite its rating.
- Lots of stiff acting from the majority of the cast.
- Predictable scares, kills, and story points.