M3GAN Review: Chucky Can Kick Rocks With a New Doll in Town

She’s more than just a toy. She’s part of the family. From the most prolific minds in horror—James Wan, the filmmaker behind the Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring franchises, and Blumhouse, the producer of the Halloween films, The Black Phone and The Invisible Man—comes a fresh new face in terror. M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a life-like doll programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by brilliant toy-company roboticist Gemma (Get Out’s Allison Williams), M3GAN can listen and watch and learn as she becomes friend and teacher, playmate and protector, for the child she is bonded to. When Gemma suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw, The Haunting of Hill House), Gemma’s unsure and unprepared to be a parent. Under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems—a decision that will have unimaginable consequences.

M3GAN Trailer:

M3GAN Video review:

The Good:

One thing that caught me off guard with M3GAN, was just how well-balanced the comedy was handled. It never got overtly goofy or silly, but at the same time, it brilliantly made fun of itself (and the horror genre). For example, I recall the audience in my theater laughing out loud whenever M3gan would start singing in random situations. What made this so funny was that it was perfectly in for the character and made sense in the narrative, but the timing of the situation made it so much funnier. There were a few moments where the humor felt a bit forced for the sake of a trailer, such as the random hallway dance scene. However, I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t get a good laugh from it either way.

Next up, I thought the themes used in M3GAN were a great fit. A prevailing theme of grief was effectively utilized for Cady’s character. It was a great compliment to the attachment theory used as a dynamic between her and M3gan. Keeping Cady’s trauma at the forefront was a great way to propel the film and accelerate M3gan’s violent tendencies.

M3GAN official trailer featured.
Image via Universal Pictures.

Speaking of which, I did actually enjoy the violence in M3GAN. It evoked an ominous presence with the A.I. toy every time it appeared on the screen. You never knew HOW violent she would get, making her an even more intriguing villain to watch. The scene with her and the little boy in the woods was definitely the most disturbing of the whole film.

The Bad:

The biggest issue with M3GAN was probably the doll’s descent into madness. It simply felt too rushed. The first 2 acts of the film were nicely paced, and the violence progressed practically. However, by the time the third act happened, M3gan seemed way too quick to violence and murder. Granted, it was never a secret nor a major revelation that the doll would go rogue. However, the real intrigue lay in the logical journey this A.I. would take to become the murderous villain. That journey felt robbed for viewers because it felt like 20 mins of the script was edited out or something just to keep the run time short. It made sense to see the killer doll want to protect Cady. However, it didn’t make much sense for M3gan to escalate her actions afterward hurriedly. Not to mention, she was way too overpowered. She went from Chucky to Ultron in no time.

The Verdict:

M3GAN is an entertainingly good time that will give you more laughs than nightmares. Despite being rather predictable, it was so funny that I forgot to be scared. The balance of humor without breaking character is vital to this film’s future success if it were to spurn into future sequels. This film understood the assignment and typical horror tropes and used them to its advantage. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I’d encourage you to watch the trailer. If you like that, you’ll know exactly what to expect from the movie. This was well worth the watch in theaters.

 

Director: Gerard Johnstone
Writer(s): Akela Cooper, James Wan
Stars: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps, Lori Dungey, Stephane Garneau-Monten
M3GAN hits theaters now. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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  • Acting - 7/10
    7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
    7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
    8/10
  • Watchability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
    7/10
Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He freelances as a writer and video content creator for sites such as MovieTickets.com. Be sure to join the other 33K+ fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]