M3GAN mixes a horror movie plot about a killer android with viral dance moves and meme-ready moments, more camp comedy than AI cautionary tale

Artificial intelligence has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately, stealing artists’ work and putting writers out of business, but thanks to M3GAN, an all-in horror comedy about androids, we’re entering the camp age. I’m doing it. Withered looks and preparatory school-style puppets that play like Frankenstein meets bad seed for his TikTok crowd.

The bad news for mankind is that this mini mech queen (already a viral sensation, thanks to a nifty trailer and a few oddly executed dance moves) has more than most flesh-and-blood actors in recent memory. To deliver a memorable performance.


The Gerald Johnstone film, produced by horror crowd-pleasing Jason Blum and James Wan, written with palpable flavor by Marinant’s Akela Cooper, is more or less the dot point of its marketing. M3GAN is, first and foremost. I’m showing (give or receive a surge of Lydia Tar).

M3GAN is the second feature film directed by Gerald Johnstone, following Housebound (2014), which he also wrote.(By: Universal/Geoffrey Short)

It’s only fitting that a movie about killer child bots begins with the death of their parents. Tragedy strikes her 9-year-old Caddy (grumpy and rambunctious Violet McGraw, Black Widow) at the first moment, her parents die in a fatal crash, and she is left alone with her 30-something robotics engineer aunt. Sent to live with a certain Gemma (Getma). Out’s Alison Williams plays her second fiddle, which is once again admirable for absurd scenarios).

But this single workaholic has a shelf full of collectible robotic toys and has a closer relationship with a smart home platform (here called “Elsie”) than most. but not ready to mother a newly orphaned 9-year-old. Year.

Under the pump that provides her employer, toy company Funki, with a new line of Furby-like virtual pets, Gemma revives and sets about building her android pet project. Her niece’s little playmate.

Enter M3GAN. It’s a Model 3 Generative Android. This doesn’t look like a doll made by any sane toy designer in the 21st century.

A human-sized AI doll with blond hair sits on a park bench with a Caucasian girl with long dark hair.
Johnstone told Slash Films that the film gave him an opportunity to explore his parents’ anxieties about on-screen technology.(Attachment: Universal)

With all the bows, babydoll shapes, Mary Janes, and synthetic ash-blonde wig (inspired by Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton, according to the director), she has more attitude than most of her co-stars. High, like a giallo siren. She wandered onto the set of Gossip Girl.

Her rubbery silicone face, like Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney, you’d think, zapped in the microwave, but out of sync with her words, moves a little more hilariously.


This high fembot is actually expertly played by child actress Amy Donald, wears a rubber mask with some tweaks by WETA’s effects team, and is digitally distorted by teenage actor Jenna. It’s chirping, voiced somewhere between a woman’s reprimand and a toddler’s terror. Davis. (Honestly, give them both an Oscar at this point.)

Every time M3GAN’s gears twirl, her animatronic head tilts just like that, like she processes the humans around her, like she’s looking at a machine that’s learned empathy from drama acting. It was like happier than last time.

A long brown-haired Caucasian woman and a long dark-haired Caucasian girl sit at a dinner table with a spooky AI doll.
“M3GAN is truly a 21st century parenting fable,” Johnstone told Slash.(Attachment: Universal)

Once M3GAN is paired with Cady and hardwired to protect her in the Asimovian pact, they become BFFs for life. At one point, the little robot reminds her companions of the need to use her drink coasters, like her droids in Finishing School with dementia. The next moment, she’s metallically gurgling her Titanium in auto-tuned versions of Sia and David Guetta.

Since David and Teddy (another camp mech icon, let’s face it) intertwined with the chaotic world of humans in Spielberg’s AI, there hasn’t been a more inspiring pair of companions. Especially he Cady and the adults he thinks M3GAN knows what’s best.

Unfortunately for her creator, M3GAN learns a little too quickly. Her enhanced learning capabilities are exactly the same as the algorithmically spooky present. She will be smarter than those around her.

You don’t have to be a robotics engineer to know where everything is going. For all high-tech conceptual gestures, this is a tale of science gone wrong all along, but the film’s most glaring model is The Bad. Seed – A cult classic from 1956. A deliciously mad brat takes pleasure in antagonizing and then murdering moral townspeople.

Like the movie, you can’t help but root for M3GAN. She’s the best friend any girl would want and is designed to be completely protective of Cady.

A white woman with long brown hair like a mouse is lying on the living room floor in an olive jumper.
Williams (pictured) told Time magazine that acting opposite Amy Donald wearing an M3GAN mask was “terrifying.”(Attachment: Universal)

Few things are as heartwarming as the evil movie kid on a rampage, but the joy here is more in the small gestures than in the killing. The way her eyes blink erratically, a mechanical buzz that makes itself feel depressed.

It should come as no surprise that M3GAN’s fatal coding flaw is a shortcut to get her to market faster. From rapist status (Promising Young Woman could never have been) to tech financier (Crazy Rich Asians and Godzilla vs. Kong’s surly Lonnie Chen), you know the cyborg You will receive a reward.

Especially when M3GAN starts doing backflips, performs her viral dance, or suddenly bursts into Spider-Run from The Exorcist, the generous portion of action makes no sense at all.

A human-sized robot doll is reading a fairy tale book in a lounge room beside a little brunette Caucasian girl.
“What’s really fun about horror comedies is that they make the most of both worlds of laughter and screams,” Johnstone told Collider.(By: Universal/Geoffrey Short)

The film presents most of the killings with cheeky humor and provocative editing, emphasizing killing over killing. they will love it.

It’s almost disrespectful to suggest that a movie with moonlit stars tinkling Martika’s children’s choir masterpiece “Toy Soldiers” on a piano could have gone further, but a lot of M3GAN’s fun It’s kind of a shame it’s finally expired because of… a pretty standard killer puppet thriller.

For example, a moment of collusion between smart home platforms M3GAN and Elsie sadly looks like a demon seed riff that never materializes.

Admittedly, no one’s here exactly for philosophical quest – like it’s powered by Sandra Wallner’s idiosyncratic and soulful android tale “Trouble Born” – but , where M3GAN sympathizes with its antagonist, suggesting more interesting technology and obscure cinema.

However, since M3GAN is a man-made monster, she must inevitably be resurrected, and humanity has an illusion of family and safety.

A star is born.

M3GAN is now in cinemas.

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