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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

M3GAN

GP Rating

M3GAN follows Gemma (Allison Williams), a brilliant roboticist who invented M3GAN (Model 3 Generative ANdroid), called ‘Megan’; a lifelike doll programmed to be a child’s greatest companion. When Gemma becomes the unexpected caretaker of Cady (Violet McGraw), her 8-year-old niece, she decides to give the girl a M3GAN prototype, a decision that leads to unimaginable consequences.

There have already been several ‘killer doll’ films, from Annabelle to Child’s Play, but instead of demonic spirits or the souls of serial killers, here we see the unintended consequences of artificial intelligence.  This creates a far more pertinent antagonist and allows M3Gan to become a platform discussing the role of AI in our lives.

We witness the evolution of Megan’s reasoning and how rash commands compound the issue during the first two acts, which crackle with tension.  It is in the final act when the violence explodes, including some neat twists and a delightful Chekov’s Gun.

Although the film firmly adheres to the three-act structure, there are some neat twists.  The police, for example, were surprisingly effective at making connections.  There were also jump scares that were genuinely shocking, despite being telegraphed in advance.

The film is excellently shot by Gerard Johnstone and incorporates unsettling elements into otherwise normal scenes.  A prime example is the opening scene presenting a stereotypical toy advert, but the toy’s teeth create an unsettling atmosphere that pervades much of the film.

Jenna Davis is great as the voice of Megan, but Amie Donald’s movement as Megan imbues the character with the ‘uncanny valley’ of modern robotics, especially with regard to their mechanical movements and rigid arms.

M3GAN incorporates a variety of themes without feeling convoluted.  Parenting is at the forefront, as Gemma’s relationship with Cady matures throughout the film and she accepts her responsibility as a parental figure.  There is also a fascinating discussion on the nature of grief, which is delicately handled, as well as the aforementioned role of AI in our lives.

Despite being a horror film, the amount of gore is comparatively low.  The focus here is more on the growing tension that permeates the film.  Nonetheless, there are scenes of implied brutality that will have some viewers wincing.

M3GAN is brilliantly acted, with Allison Williams playing Aunt Gemma’s growing parental responsibility brilliantly.  There is scene with Gemma and Cady discussing the death of Cady’s parents that was especially powerful to watch.

At a runtime of 90 minutes, this is a tightly-scripted film by Akela Cooper, which never feels bloated.  However, there is one plotline that is set up but never actually goes anywhere, despite a scene focusing on it.  This might be to lead to a potential sequel, but so much was made of it that it felt out of place in not being adequately resolved.

Although M3GAN adheres firmly to the three-act structure, the unique take on the classic killer-doll trope with AI-gone-wrong keeps the film fresh and interesting.

Peter Ray Allison
Peter Ray Allisonhttp://www.peterallison.net
Science Fiction: the final frontier. These are the articles of the freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison. His continuing mission: to explore strange new realms of fiction, to seek out new genres and new visions of the future, to boldly geek where no one has geeked before.

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M3GAN follows Gemma (Allison Williams), a brilliant roboticist who invented M3GAN (Model 3 Generative ANdroid), called ‘Megan’; a lifelike doll programmed to be a child's greatest companion. When Gemma becomes the unexpected caretaker of Cady (Violet McGraw), her 8-year-old niece, she decides to give...M3GAN