Film Review: “M3GAN”


Screengrab from: "M3GAN"

“M3GAN” was released on Jan. 6 2023 and features a programmed doll with artificial intelligence that ends up having a killer instinct. M3GAN is programmed to protect its owner at all costs, which ends up costing bullies quite a lot.

Cassandra Bauer, Film Reviewer

Joining Chucky and Annabelle in the cannon of killer doll movies comes “M3GAN”, a lifelike AI robot doll whose seemingly innocent intentions of protecting a child quickly take a darker turn.

When young Cady (Violet McGraw) tragically loses her parents in a fatal car crash, she is left to live with her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams) a famed robotic toy engineer, who lacks any parental instincts. Seeing Cady’s need for connection and in need of a new project for her boss, Gemma crafts a robotic companion. M3GAN, or the Model 3 Generative Android, is a state of the art life sized doll with artificial intelligence learning technology, who can sing, dance, play and carry conversation.

Cady quickly grows attached to M3GAN, and M3GAN’s programming prompts her to protect her assigned child at all costs. As the film goes on, this programming becomes progressively more violent, to the point where M3GAN is no longer a cutesy companion. What is in store for the next door neighbor’s aggressive dog or the boy who keeps bullying Cady? I bet you can take a guess. 

You can almost always predict what’s going to happen next, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The script isn’t airtight; there are a few plot details that never get fully fleshed out, but it’s still nice to see an original story that draws people to the big screen. 

Besides a few jump scares, you tend to laugh more than you scream. Its real fear factor comes from the uneasy growing future of AI technology. The film sets up a premise that doesn’t seem too far from reality. After watching this robot uprising you just might want to unplug your Alexa…

M3GAN sits between Cady (Violet McGraw) on the left and Gemma (Allison Williams) on the right. (Screengrab from: “M3GAN”)

Finding a perfect balance between silly and creepy, throwing in a touch of camp, and never once taking itself too seriously, “M3GAN” knows exactly what type of film it’s supposed to be, which makes it incredibly easy to enjoy. After her haunting dance moves have become somewhat of an internet sensation, more people keep going back to see her, earning the film a top three spot in box office rankings for the past three weeks. 

Allison Williams dips her toe back into the horror world after playing a starring role in the critically acclaimed film “Get Out” (2017). Violet McGraw, our young Cady, also has a background in horror as she is known for her role in the popular Netflix show “The Haunting of Hill House”. Williams plays Gemma pretty flat, but that’s what she’s good at. The essentially one note characters lets the real star of the film, M3GAN, shine. Always at center stage with fierce comebacks and tiktok-esque dance moves, this robotic icon is brought to life through a combination of special effects and human actresses. Amie Donald plays the doll on screen while Jenna Davis lends her voice to complete the character.

“M3GAN” brings a strong start to this year’s movie season, which usually opens with a few duds. Being more goofy than scary, the film is a perfect night out at the movies. 

Watch “M3GAN” in theaters now.