Movie Review: ‘M3GAN’

Director: Gerard Johnstone

Cast: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Amie Donald, Jenna Davis, Jen Van Epps, Brian Jordan Alvarez

Plot: An engineer and toy designer gifts her niece her latest creation – the Model 3 Generative Android, otherwise known as M3GAN. In the rush to get the robot girl ready for market, they may not have put enough safeguards in place.

Review: Right off the back of Chucky’s latest resurgence on our screens, both cinema and TV, comes M3GAN, another sadistic toy and their protective human friend. Rather than a regularly sized doll possessed by a serial killer we have a child sized robot with a capacity to learn and adapt. With a grieving orphan to protect and creator turned foe, it may sound like M3GAN isn’t giving us anything new. Well, that’s true…but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking forward to this chilling outing.

Evil toys have been a staple of the horror genre for decades, with Chucky only being the poster child. The unique selling point of M3GAN is her design being based on modern robotics and utilising artificial intelligence. M3GAN hasn’t been brought to life by supernatural means, but is working as designed. Being programmed to learn from her surroundings and access to the internet, M3GAN becomes increasingly hostile and dangerous as a result of her design. Without parental safeguards or enough time to refine the process, the toy’s primary goal of protecting her owner, Cady (McGraw), makes her increasingly violent. What really sells the film is the incredible performances and effects that are used to bring M3GAN to life. She’s a combination of young dancer Amie Donald providing a physical performance with additional make-up effects and CGI to give her the robotic appearance, with Jenna Davis finally providing the voice. There’s no point in the movie where you don’t view M3GAN as a robot. Excellent work by everyone involved here.

Cady has recently been orphaned by a prologue accident, leaving the young girl with her Aunt Jemma (Williams). Jemma is not a natural parent, and struggles to support the traumatised girl whilst furthering her career in robotics. Although she’s supposed to be making the next Furby knock-off, her passion project is the titular M3GAN. Jemma brings her project home for Cady, and the girl quickly bonds with her robot pal, resulting in Jemma’s boss being impressed enough to further development on the toy. Whilst everyone is impressed with how well M3GAN operates and learns, it isn’t long before she’s taking things further than expected. Eventually Jemma learns that her Frankenstein is turning against her, leading to a chilling confrontation.

As said before, the concept of AI learning the wrong lesson, learning to ‘protect’ people with violence, has all been done before. M3GAN succeeds because it executes this premise very effectively. It’s already getting plenty of positive attention, and the marketing has piqued audience interest with the striking design of our new horror villain. Get some friends and have a fun, messy night out.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN