Somm3rleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writ3r
Plot: A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own.
R3view: When was the last time you watched a movie where you were straight up rooting for the villain? M3GAN is the newest horror movie in the line of the “killer doll” trope and, even with its PG-13 rating, manages to be quite a fun ride. The story is a simple tale of hubris meets technology with a bit of a message thrown in about the dangers of allowing technology to raise our younglings.
Gemma (Allison Williams of Girls, Get Out) is a young brash toy developer who works for a company that created one of the best-selling toys on the market (a sort of Furby-meets-Gremlins looking thing). She’s secretly working on a top-of-the-line doll that she says will be the only toy a kid will ever need, but it’s nowhere near ready to launch. When her sister and brother-in-law are killed in a car accident Gemma is forced to become the guardian of her young niece Cady (Violet McGraw).
Ill equipped and rather unwilling to change her lifestyle to include taking care of the grief-stricken child, Gemma decides instead to rush her special project and builds M3GAN (which I’ll just call Meg going forward, as it’s a tad annoying to type) to be Cady’s companion, caretaker and all-around best friend. With no safety measures put in place other than a secondary control that allows her to shut Meg down, Gemma and her boss David (Ronny Chieng) think they have the ultimate toy and the ultimate money maker on their hands but Meg (who is portrayed by Amie Donald and voiced by Jenna Davis) cares only for Cady. And with an AI full of sass and zero effs for Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics (feel free to Google them if you’re not familiar) goes on a murder rampage that would make Chucky sit up and cheer.
While Gerard Johnstone (Housebound) directs this movie it has James Wan’s fingerprints all over it. Wan is no stranger to fun, fast-paced horror movies with films like Dead Silence, Saw and of course The Conjuring franchise under his belt. He co-wrote M3GAN and you can tell his focus here is to give us a new horror villain audiences will want to see more of in the future. With a design that makes her seem both human and doll-like, Meg, unlike the creepier toys seen in other genre outings, is the kind of doll with an appearance that could draw victims in out of sheer curiosity before they realise something is dangerously wrong. Which means viewers are in for some fun and genuinely creepy moments. She’s the star of the show and the creators know what audiences want by ensuring Meg is the main focus throughout.
The humans in this movie on the other hand are merely window dressing and designed to be either unlikeable or forgettable. Some may consider this a flaw of the film but I think it’s clear M3GAN is meant to be a send-up to films like Child’s Play, Deadly Friend and other similar movies from the past eras where horror was focused more on just giving viewers an entertaining ride and not really caring that much about character development. You could even argue the humans in this movie are worse than the killer doll, with Gemma coming across as a Victor Frankenstein-type who only cares about showing the world how smart she is. Or how about Gemma’s neighbour Celia (Lori Dungey) who has a dangerous dog but does nothing to ensure it can’t do harm to others? And David, the boss of the toy company, who cares nothing about Cady’s grief over losing her parents and more about utilising her to sell more Megs to little girls and boys all over the world. Yeah, these aren’t people you’ll want to root for.
So, if you’re a fan of the killer doll genre M3GAN most definitely has you covered. I for one hope they release an unrated version where we get to see Meg let loose while dropping some fun dance moves. But even with the PG-13 rating, this is worth a look. And I am sure it won’t be the last time we see this pint-sized plastic killer bust a move.
Score: 7 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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