M3GAN (Gerard Johnstone, 2022, USA)

M3GAN is the latest Blumhouse franchise and the latest film in the killer doll universe. Drawing heavily from Child's Play - albeit more from the 2019 reboot - M3GAN originated with a story from Saw and Insidious-helmer James Wan and Akela Cooper. The marketing campaign for the film was launched with highly viral clips of the titular artificially intelligent doll doing the dance that she performs in the film. M3GAN is a villain ideal for our TikTok age, and it's not a surprise that the film performed well. While originally intended as an R-rated film, the film was ultimately released as a PG-13 to bring in the teen crowd.

While M3GAN is unsettling in some ways, it is not heavily violent or scary. Instead, the film plays more into our fears surrounding artificial intelligence, and its increasingly intrusive role in our lives. In that sense, the film feels very timely. The film also deals with sensitive themes around loss. The plot of the film starts when our protagonist Gemma (Allison Williams) suddenly must become the caregiver of her niece Cady (Violet McGraw). Throughout the rest of the film, Gemma grapples with her role pursuing a career and also trying to be a caregiver to Cady.

M3GAN is not revelatory but does manage to stay entertaining mainly for the factor of its campiness. The performance of M3GAN herself is also one of the film's triumphs. Her character exudes creepiness by treading in that very uncanny valley, and even at points, we feel sympathetic toward her. While it is no surprise how the film will end, Cooper's script thankfully does not take things too seriously. Whether M3GAN will become the next Chucky is another question, but certainly this film owes a great debt to that franchise. Worth a watch for fans of the killer doll genre.



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