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M3GAN (A Movie Review)

M3GAN (2023)

Starring Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Amie Donald, Jen Van Epps, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jack Cassidy, Ronny Chieng, Stephane Garneau-Monten, Arlo Green, Lori Dungey, Kira Josephson, Michael Saccente and the voices of Jenna Davis and Natasha Kojic.

Screenplay by Akela Cooper.

Directed by Gerard Johnstone.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 102 minutes. Rated PG-13.

There are two kinds of horror fans in this world. There are the ones who see a spooky looking doll and hide their eyes in terror. Then there are those who see a little killer moppet with its chubby cheeks and little rubber hands and think this is kind of ridiculous.

I tend to be in the second camp.

M3GAN has been getting comparisons to the Child’s Play movies. And it is sort of like Child’s Play, except mostly it’s like the 2019 reboot of that franchise (you know, the one that everyone – particularly fans of the series – hated).

The title character in M3GAN is not a doll, exactly. Not like traditional spooky doll films like Annabelle, Trilogy of Terror and the original Child’s Play movies. M3GAN is more of a robot which is being marketed as a toy, just like Chucky in the Child’s Play reboot (M3GAN stands for “Model 3 Generative ANdroid – they can’t even do initials right, that should be M3GA.)

And while M3GAN is better than the Chucky reboot, it’s not really very good. However, it is stupid, but fun, which is all that many horror films aim for.

The thing is, though, M3GAN seems to be trying to aim higher. It makes some half-hearted explorations of grief, absentee parenting, and the dangers of AI, but mostly it’s about a little killer robot gone rogue. It’s a storyline variation which has been done hundreds of times now and M3GAN adds little to the canon.

There have been films about computers (and a robot is basically a variation of a computer) advancing beyond the programming that was intended even farther back than 2001: A Space Odyssey over 50 years ago. At least that movie, as weird as it sometimes got, had some deep ideas on the subject. Granted, it’s probably not fair to compare a silly horror film with a serious science fiction classic, but you get the point.

At least M3GAN, at like four feet tall is not quite as ridiculous a killer as a foot-tall Chucky, but still seeing this robot who weighs less than one hundred pounds pummeling people twice her size seems a little silly.

I’m also not sure I totally buy that M3GAN could come to be every girl’s favorite new toy. Yes, it’s a technological marvel, but honestly, it’s kind of spooky, and not even when it is killing people, just in general. I could see little girls waking up under M3GAN’s glassy gaze and getting the crap scared out of them.

But okay, grading M3GAN on the level that it is made on, it’s not bad. It’s sometimes funny, sometimes intelligent, and sometimes a bit scary. So how you react to the film will probably pretty much depend on your feelings about homicidal dolls.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2023 All rights reserved. Posted: January 6, 2023.


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