Not for years have I witnessed a crowd as enthused, joyful, and energetic as those watching M3GAN, a new installment of horror comedy creature feature in a similar vein to Chucky and Gremlins, with moments of camp and terror.
The name of the film shares the name with the creepy, and funny, A.I. doll built by toy inventor Gemma (Allison Williams) to entertain her niece Katy (Violet McGraw) in the wake of her parent’s death. But what begins as a companion for Katy (and distraction so that Gemma can get M3GAN into the homes of millions of kids), turns sinister. M3GAN soon becomes violent and malicious, committed to protecting Katy and turning on everyone in her periphery.
M3GAN works for a number of reasons. Williams mimics her performance of the headstrong woman, similar to her performace as Get Out, as the character who deliberately ignores the alarm bells around her. McGraw is also pretty solid as the depressed Katy who is brought back to life with the creation of M3GAN, even if the script doesn’t give her much to work with.
But it’s M3GAN herself, with her silicone skin, camera eyes and death grip hands, coupled with her intellect and machine learning that makes her a scary and comedic villian in the story. Amie Donald and Jenna Davis bring the character to life, creepily reflective of the types of machines we are all to accustomed to in our life.
Director Gerard Johnstone does a great job is balancing the comedy and horror elements, with a short and sharp run time. He knows when to focus on M3GAN and her attempts to be human, and still makes the film feel exciting in between the funny and scary scenes.Without his strong direction, this would be a mess of grand proportions.
M3GAN is a cuationary tale about technology but it plays best as a dark comedy, with the robot’s one liners as stinging as no other, and her fight sequences delivered sharply. It’s suspenseful, even when we know the end is likely to end one way. But it’s the random moments of singing and dancing that take it to the next level. It’s campy fun is sure to entertain audiences.