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M3GAN  l  Universal Pictures Canada  |  January 6, 2023

Starring: Allison Williams, Jenna Davis, Violet McGraw

Directed By: Gerard Johnstone

M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a lifelike doll that's programmed to be a child's greatest companion and a parent's greatest ally. Designed by Gemma, a brilliant roboticist, M3GAN can listen, watch and learn as it plays the role of friend and teacher, playmate and protector. When Gemma becomes the unexpected caretaker of her 8-year-old niece, she decides to give the girl an M3GAN prototype, a decision that leads to unimaginable consequences.

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REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

M3GAN is an instant horror classic thanks to its iconic villain, self aware writing mixed with a ridiculous fun and unnerving terror, and kills that push the boundaries of a PG-13 rating, resulting in a wickedly fun theatrical experience!

 

Ever since the trailer dropped for M3GAN back in the fall, I have been dying to see this film because it looked like a ton of fun. And now that M3GAN is finally here, she is ready to make her mark on horror cinema and rightfully claim herself as one of the most memorable villains in the genre. While this is not the first, nor will it be the last horror movie to caution against technological advancements as a robot goes haywire and begins killing the humans it encounters, it will be a long time before there is one as fun as M3GAN.

 

The film follows Allison William’s Gemma, a young woman who becomes guardian to her niece Cady after her sister and brother-in-law pass away in a car accident. To help Cady cope with the loss of her parents, Gemma builds a life-like doll named M3GAN. M3GAN is seen as a huge advancement at Gemma’s toy manufacturing company that is going to revolutionize the industry, Gemma pairs M3GAN with Cady with the prime directive of protecting her to further test M3GAN. And while M3GAN and Cady become instant best friends, Gemma soon discovers that M3GAN will do anything, including murder, to keep Cady safe. 

 

From a story co-written by horror mastermind James Wan, there are no twists and turns to the plot. It follows the exact trajectory you would expect from a killer robot film, but it is one hell of a ride. Wan and director Gerard Johnstone capture the vibe of an 80s horror film, full of camp and extreme violence, and pair it with today’s technology, which is a killer combo. While there is never a moment where I was terrified, the film balances great humour from the ridiculousness of the concept with an unnerving feeling as you watch M3GAN prepare to take her next victim. It will leave you holding your breath as M3GAN stalks her next victim, waiting for her to strike with a gleeful smile on your face. Even with a PG-13 rating, which I’m surprised the film received given the extremes of the violence and the gore, it’s a nail biting ride that will have audiences grinning from ear to ear the entire time. And underneath all of the violence, the cautionary messaging about the dangers of technology replacing humans ring loud and clear, fully embracing the science fiction elements of the story.

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M3GAN herself is without a doubt one of the most entertaining villains the horror genre has seen in a long time. From her instantly iconic dance moves, her singing of David Guetta’s “Titanium” which is eerily creepy as it describes how insanely hard it will be for Gemma to kill her, to her disturbing affinity towards brutally murdering people, there is nothing she cannot or will not do. Amie Donald does a wonderful job bringing to life the physicality of M3GAN, creating some truly wild and disturbing visual moments throughout the film, while Jenna Davis gives an unsettling voice performance that gives this doll her homicidal personality. Fingers crossed we will get a sequel, because I for one would love to see more of M3GAN, as she has instantly joined the ranks of iconic horror villains like Freddy Kruger and Jason Vorhees, in addition to being one of the most popular Halloween costumes of 2023!

 

It does not end there though, as the great performances carry past M3GAN. Williams is great as Gemma, capturing the career driven woman who has no clue of how to take care of her niece. She has the survival instinct of some of horror’s greatest final girls, while having a self awareness as the plot progresses of what is truly important in life, creating some truly tender moments. VIolet McGraw, who horror fans may recognize from Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House, is an excellent choice for Cady. She has the sweetness to bring to life this young girl, while also the temper and emotional vulnerability to capture the spectrum of emotions of a child attempting to cope with the loss of her parents. As always, Ronny Chieng is hilarious, making for the perfect money hungry CEO concerned about profits and not what M3GAN may actually be capable of. Which only makes you more and more excited for his encounter with M3GAN during the film’s final act, which is one of the film’s best scenes.

 

Continuing the strong horror offerings audiences were treated to in 2022, M3GAN kicks off the 2023 film slate with a perfect killer energy while creating an instant classic for the horror genre! Full of camp, brutal and wildly entertaining kills, and an honest look at loss and grieving, M3GAN is not only a great horror comedy but provides the genre with one of its most memorable villains in ages that will take the world by storm with her homicidal tendencies and signature dance moves!

RATING 4 out of 5

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