M3GAN Review: A highly-entertaining hit that’s scary good
Blumhouse delivers another massively entertaining horror hit with M3GAN, a sci-fi horror flick that leans completely into its strangeness to deliver some incredibly fun scares and surprising laughs.
What’s not surprising about M3GAN is that it works as a strong modern horror movie given its premise and the talent behind it. With the film focusing on an AI robot toy named M3GAN who becomes overly protective of her creator Gemma’s (Allison Williams) niece Cady (Violet McGraw) to the point where she’s willing to harm those that pose a threat to their relationship, it’s got total Child’s Play vibes. M3GAN’s nearly emotionless face and life-size build make her unsettling to look at and the way she’s “life-like” gives her a creepy feel. The almost robotic nature of her voice and the not quite human look of her face easily gives you the creeps from the first glance.
M3GAN only becomes more of terror when she’s in action as she racks up some wild kills and is a pure technological terror. When M3GAN drops her friendly attitude, she’s legitimately scary. The way she cuts people with words and uses her intelligence to undermine Gemma’s authority gives her a great horror presence. Once she has her sights set on someone who hinders her friendship with Cady, she goes to any lengths to eliminate them leading to some kills that show M3GAN as a physical threat. M3GAN is just all-around a great modern horror villain, which is no surprise given who helped create her.
With The Conjuring and Saw creator James Wan and Malignant writer Akela Cooper penning M3GAN, it’s easy to see why she’s such a memorable horror villain. She has all the traits of a ruthless and nefarious unsuspecting killer and feels like a blend of the genre. There’s even some strong tech body-horror shown in M3GAN’s creation and a rock’em sock’em final battle that adds another eerie layer to M3GAN as a character. However, it’s the voice performance of Jenna Davis and physical performance of Amie Donald that make M3GAN such a compelling on-screen force and it’s a dual threat performance that gives M3GAN her great horror identity.
The real surprise of M3GAN though is the heart and humor it displays with its titular character and story. Director Gerard Johnstone finds the perfect balance between horror and entertaining hilarity. The overt strangeness of M3GAN creates plenty of hilarious moments that involve her trying to comfort Cady with songs only to come off super creepy and learning some wild dance moves that’ll leave your jaw dropped. Even some of the reactions to M3GAN from other adults are funny and hit a relatable note. The film knows exactly what’s weird about M3GAN and unabashedly isn’t afraid to acknowledge it resulting in a highly entertaining experience with a solid story to boot.
While the film’s story has some threads that don’t have the impact they should and feature themes with little depth, it can win over viewers with the legitimate heart it has. Williams and McGraw’s performances definitely make their character’s disconnect work and there are good moments that have some real emotion to it. The connection between M3GAN and Cady has some genuinely tender moments, especially when Cady is talking about the death of her parents, and the growing bond between Cady and Gemma feels real. Plus, there’s some interesting conversations about technology’s affect on us and Cady’s psychological struggles after her parents’ death. Also, Gemma’s arc dealing with her lack of social skills is fits perfectly into the story and is a nice subtle touch to the film’s voice on technology. M3GAN takes itself seriously when it needs to and puts out a good story that manages to be equally as engaging as it is entertaining.
Blumhouse clearly has another gem on its hands with M3GAN as it provides a thrilling and surprisingly funny horror ride that balances its tones well and knows exactly what it needs to do to keep you hooked every step of the way. With how Blumhouse has already greenlit a sequel, M3GAN’s clearly got big franchise potential and is a great addition to the strong modern era of horror.
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