Move over Chucky (1988) and Annabelle (2013); there’s a new killer doll in town. The tongue-in-cheek camp of the 2022 trailer went instantly viral online, with TikTokers imitating the robot doll’s malevolent dance. Way before the film was released, M3GAN had already become a hit Halloween costume, and the LGBT community had claimed M3GAN as a gay icon.
So does M3GAN live up to the hype? Quick answer, yes. While audiences may be enticed in by the predictable camp of a slasher flick, the story (James Wan) and screenplay (Akela Cooper) offers a lot more for audiences to think about.
Workaholic roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams) becomes obsessed with developing the M3GAN robot doll, because she is unprepared to become the legal guardian of her orphaned niece, Cady (Violet McGraw). Cady quickly develops a dependence on M3GAN (Amie Donald, Jenna Davis), and we see the full extent of this when Cady screams in front of the family therapist (Amy Usherwood) in M3GAN’s absence: Cady has completely lost control. There are horrifying associations for parents in the audience whose children lose their minds when their iPads are taken away. It’s corny to say, but the real horror of the movie is in showcasing the insidious way that technology is being sold to us to take over our children’s lives.
In terms of the inevitable doll-led violence, it’s strangely un-gory, with the direction (Gerard Johnstone) focused on the creepiness of M3GAN itself. If anything, some audiences might be expecting more of a murder spree than we actually get. Perhaps they’re leaving this for the sequel (2025).
M3GAN is released in UK cinemas 13 January 2023.