Dog’s Movie House: “M3GAN” A Wonderfully Entertaining Comedic Horror Film!
At first, M3GAN seems like a godsend, bonding with Cady and becomeing invaluable to Gemma as she attempts to navigate through the stormy waters of temporary guardianship. Of course the AI in M3GAN begins to take her programming in regards to protecting Cady a little too seriously, identifying and eliminating threats both real and perceived until she becomes a threat to Cady and Gemma.
Sounds like every killer robot movie ever, right? The good news is that screenwriter Akela Cooper (with assistance from horror maestro James Wan) knows that the fun of “M3GAN” is going to be in the journey, not the destination. So instead of crafting a straight horror film, the crafts a wickedly funny satire on AI and consumer culture that has enough suspense and action to qualify as a decent thriller. The direction from Gerard Johnstone is tight and the kill sequences jump even though this isn’t an R-rated film. The movie jumps from funny to scary with commendable ease and although the plot hits some of the similar beats of other films of this type, the details and humor make this a trip worth taking.
It helps that “M3GAN” has some really strong performances. Williams, starring in her second film from Blumhouse after “Get Out” does a fantastic job as the workaholic Gemma whose passion for success and innovation blinds here to the fact that Cady has bonded with “M3GAN” more so than Gemma. McGraw also does fine work as Cady, realistically portraying a child of trauma. Her relationships with both Gemma and M3GAN feel genuine and as a result, lay the groundwork for a telling emotional hook that would otherwise be absent in the film of this kind. Special kudos goes to Ronny Chieng as the hot tempered boss of the toy company. Some of his lines are the funniest in the movie and he’s so easy to dislike that his ultimate fate becomes more crowd-pleasing than scary (in a good way).
The real MVP here of course are the combined talents of the two actresses who play M3GAN. Young Amie Donald, a dancer with exceptional flexability, gives the android not only her unnerving robotic movements but also some very cool (and already meme-worthy dance moves). Jenna Davis kills it as the voice of M3GAN, injecting just enough teenage snark in her dialogue to make the robot just this side of real. It’s kind of like if Pinocchio was a Mean Girl. The practical effects team does a great job of creating an “uncanny valley” look for M3GAN’s facial features, which is kind of the point. The robot’s stare and plastic countenance is one of the creepiest things about the movie.
With an interesting premise, great performances, and a smart, witty script “M3GAN” is a terrific time at the movies and the birth of a legendary movie villain. 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!