Review: M3GAN

M3GAN (2022)

Director: Gerard Johnstone

Starring: Allison Williams, Jenna Davis, and Violet McGraw

Review: January is not supposed to be a good month for movies. Anyone who keeps track of movie release dates and box office numbers knows that the first month of the year is where studios dump their weakest films. Movies that otherwise would have almost no shot of becoming finically or critically successful. And that’s what makes M3GAN such a welcome surprise. It’s not only watchable. It’s borderline an enjoyable experience. I went in with the lowest of low expectations and walked out with a bit of a smile on my face. Is it going to make anyone’s top 10 list by December/January of next year? No. But it’s still a quite enjoyable experience.

In my mind, that all comes down to the character of M3GAN. I don’t want to hype her up too much, but I could definitely see her becoming the next big horror icon. I’m talking Halloween costumes, Hot Topic merch, a role in Dead by Daylight, the whole nine yards. She is absolutely the type of character I can see people flocking to. First of all, she’s definitely creepy. The scenes of her glaring at her potential victims from across the room never failed to send a bit of a shiver down my spine. But, also, she’s sort of adorable. It’s hard not to root for her when she busts out into a solo rendition of Bulletproof or does the equivalent of a TikTok dance will chasing down her prey. Not to mention, she’s got some valid points. It’s one of those circumstances where you’ll find yourself agreeing with the villain on more occasions than you’re really comfortable with. Yes, M3GAN herself is an absolute hit. If Universal/Blumhouse were smart, which I know they are, we’ll be seeing a lot more of this character in the near future and I can’t wait.

But, as we all know, a good horror villain doesn’t necessarily mean the movie itself is going to be decent. If that were the case, every Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street would be massive hits. No, you’ve got to also have a compelling story with sympathetic heroes. And M3GAN definitely has that too. Allison Williams does such a wonderful job playing the career obsessed aunt forced into the awkward position of raising her recently orphaned niece. It’s a story we’ve seen before, but it’s played out so well here that I didn’t really mind. The story then leads into lessons about grief and how we use technology to drown out our emotions. You legitimately get so wrapped up into their relationship that the biggest gasp I let out was from one of their arguments and not from the killer doll running around. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. And, it’s the icing on the cake that makes this movie one worth recommending.

Now, of course, I can’t let this review end without bringing up a few of my surprisingly minor criticisms. One, I know it’s become a bit of a joke within the community. Heck, M3GAN and he are basically in a Twitter war right now. But… this movie owes a lot to Child’s Play. Or more specifically the reboot that no one saw or really talks about. That movie also dealt not only with a killer doll, but our (and our children’s) relationship with artificial intelligent. In a way, M3GAN kinda proved my theory that the worst part of that movie was the fact that it was called Child Play. If it had been it’s own independent entity, I think it would’ve done a lot better. At the end of the day, it’s really not that important though. MEGAN is a better movie. A better killer (than that version of Chucky at least). And definitely more fun. But, I still thought it was worth noting.

My only other criticism is that the movie felt a bit rushed. It only has an hour and 40 minute runtime and I could’ve easily gone for another 20 minutes of M3GAN mayhem. It feels like we’re just getting warmed up and then it’s over. And, honestly, the kills are sorta on the weak side. Maybe they’re saving the “goods” for the sequels, but I would’ve loved to see a bit more here.

Overall, not a bad movie experience though. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if the idea of a silly, Gen-Z TikTok dancing doll sounds appealing to you. Personally, I thought it was a lot of fun. I just wish there was a little more meat on the bones. If there was, I’d be shouting about this from the rooftops. For now, we’ve got to settle for it just being good though. And, for the first movie of the year, good is a pretty good place to start.

TLDR: M3GAN may not be all that groundbreaking, but it is a good time at the theater and a solid introduction to a possible new slasher icon.

Score: 7/10 (Good)

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