From Blumhouse, the studio who gave us dark treats such as “Get Out” and “The Black Phone”, comes “M3GAN”. Which is now out to enjoy on digital download and Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray.
Helmed by critically acclaimed director Gerard Johnstone (“Housebound”), and screenwriter Akela Cooper (“Nun2”), we find ourselves on a potentially far more intelligent level of a new horror franchise. The film begins with an young 8-year-old girl, Cady, played by Violet McGraw of “The Haunting of Hill House”, who suddenly finds herself orphaned by a freak car accident on their way to a family holiday.
Cue Cady’s brilliant scientist aunt Gemma, played with ease by Alison Williams of “Get Out”, who is a major designer within the ‘FUNKI’ toy company, and has now been thrust into the world of parenting. FUNKI is producing a run of the mill toy, the ‘PurrPetual Petz’, much to Gemma’s continuing frustration who is secretly creating something far more realistic and unique in the basement of the company.
Her project, the ‘Model Three Generative Android’, or ‘M3GAN’ for short (pronounced Megan) is a highly intelligent childlike doll, which uses artificial intelligence to protect its partnered human from both mental and physical harm. Constructed of a titanium skeleton, and silicone skin, M3GAN has been designed to be the perfect interactive toy for children and the ideal aid to parents’ everyday hectic schedules.
Billed as a horror, this film does not produce the jump scares or blood and gore typically expected from the Blumhouse company. Released as a certificate 15 in the UK and a PG13 in America, it has been re-edited to be more appealing to a wider audience, so the true horror comes from the intense bond that she forms with Cady. Knowingly or not, this film touches on the fact that there is a generation that is now heavily reliant upon interactive technology working as a surrogate babysitter for children of all ages, massively affecting their health both mentally and physically.
The M3GAN robot utilises two actors for this great performance. The wonderful, 13-year-old New Zealand dancer, Amie Donald from series “Sweet Tooth” for the costumed/masked sections. With Jenna Davis as the voice, able to produce the higher ranges required for the snappily and brilliantly written viral ‘coaster’ scenes. There’s also some suitably ‘Child’s Play’-esque puppet special effects, giving the film a fitting 80’s/90’s retro feel.
M3GAN’s arc in the film works extremely well, with her going from the protective guardian through to much darker levels later on, as the bond between ‘My Little Terminator’ and Cady grows stronger. Considering she has several very emotional scenes, Violet McGraw as Cady does well going toe-to-toe with her adult co-stars and all the puppet trickery. Her Aunt Gemma’s inability to bond with her providing suitable dramatic fuel to the fire and giving a real menacing motivation to M3GAN’s actions.
There are scenes in the last two acts that show off M3GAN’s deadly skills beautifully without the film becoming one big killfest. From M3GAN dealing with annoying neighbours, to teaching Cady’s bully a lesson in the woods, the film becomes increasingly darker until the final part of act three, which veers heavily into AI’s role in all our lives and how we take it for granted.
There is a lot of great humour in the script that keeps the film light in the right places and helps illustrate the darkness of what could be a not-too-distant future for all of us. With many of its brilliant original cast already confirmed, M3GAN 2.0 has already been announced for mid-January 2025, and also a third film coming in 2027. A surprising hit for me… bring on M3GAN 2.0.
Author: Piers, Maidstone Store