By Jason Delgado
There has been a long and memorable history of evil robots (The Terminator) and creepy dolls (Chucky) in film. What do you get when you mix the two, with a dash of Frankenstein’s monster? M3GAN, the new “it” girl in horror/comedy.
The marketing for this movie has been nothing short of genius. I couldn’t get that funny/creepy M3GAN dance out of my head if I tried. The main issue with such widespread marketing on social media and TV is that there isn’t as much mystery left when you see the film. It’s the classic “the best parts are in the trailer” problem. If you enjoyed the trailer, you will probably like the movie anyways despite the lack of surprise.
The story follows Gemma (Allison Williams – Get Out), a top-level roboticist, who builds a lifelike artificial intelligence doll named M3GAN. The doll was built for the toy company for which she works, but also as a companion for her recently orphaned eight-year-old niece (Violet McGraw). M3GAN takes her objective to protect the young girl at all costs quite literally and seriously, so audiences should know what to expect next from anyone who crosses the duo.
The two aforementioned human leads, Williams and McGraw, do a fine job despite the (hopefully) intentional silliness of the script, but it is M3GAN (played by Jenna Davis and Amie Donald) who steals the show. Her movements, reactions, and even her resting face, are so perfect for the manipulative, evil incarnate being that she is portraying: A.I. gone wrong.
M3GAN has a good number of laughs, at least it did with the audience with whom I saw it on opening night. The film is low on actual scares, unless you are inherently afraid of murderous dolls (which is entirely possible for many people, since movies such as Annabelle have a large audience, except I hear that those Annabelle films are actually scary). The movie is light, for the most part, (the orphan angle is used for an emotional touch but does not work as well as it could have done) and breezy, with a runtime of an hour and forty-two minutes.
This film is no masterpiece, with some clunky dialogue and overly predictable situations, but it is fun, and ripe for sequel potential with such an already indelible character. I see more M3GAN movies in our future, just like Art the Clown from The Terrifier series, and even Michael Myers (I envision Halloween Ends leading to something like Halloween Reborn). Good monsters are never truly gone when there is money to be made.
I give M3GAN three out of five hot sauce packets. It’s hot enough to sear that dance in your mind and keep you coming back for more.