James Wan and Jason Blum are two of the biggest names in horror, so imagine my excitement when I found out they were making a killer doll movie together. With Blum producing through his Blumhouse Productions, and Wan credited with the story, they were smart enough to bring in director Gerard Johnstone who knows more than a thing or two about balancing creepy, scary, and hilarious. His 2014 horror-comedy, Housebound, is underrated and underseen, but with M3GAN, he manages to put his stamp all over it. Partially hindered by a PG-13 rating, the film isn’t quite as bonkers as it could have been, but what we do get is a super fun kickoff to 2023’s horror offerings.
Young Cady (Violet McGraw) has just lost her parents in an accident on their way to a ski trip. Thrust into the guardianship of her all-work-no-play aunt, Gemma (Allison Williams), the two must now find a way to force a relationship neither ever expected. In order to alleviate the pressure from both of them, Gemma creates “M3GAN” (Model 3 Generative Android), so that she can deliver on a product for her boss, while giving Cady a better companion than she feels equipped to be. Little does Gemma know, the AI used for M3GAN (performed by Amie Donald and voiced by Jenna Davis), is more than she bargained for, with the new toy pairing too well with Cady. Now, M3GAN will stop at nothing to ensure Cady’s security, while eyeing a new primary user: herself.
Anyone who has seen the trailer and already wants to see M3GAN is in for a huge treat. Akela Cooper’s (Malignant, Hellfest, American Horror Story) screenplay is hilarious, creepy, and sometimes even heartwarming. Director Johnstone is never afraid to lean into how bizarre a situation can be when you throw in an AI overprotective, eventual killer doll into the mix. The reported PG-13 reshoots are very apparent, but never take you out of the film. There are clearly two versions of the film out there somewhere, and hopefully, some of us may have the option to see the original R-rated cut. Regardless, Williams and McGraw make for a believable odd couple, surrounded by a hilarious batch of costars, including the ever reliable Ronny Chieng.
M3GAN may not quite reach the heights, thrills, and chills we’ve had from the likes of Chucky or Annabelle — this is only her first outing after all — but if there happened to be a sequel down the line, hopefully they can make good on something bigger and even crazier. Something that would make even M3GAN repeat herself, “It’s insane, right?” Possibly some kind of, err, faceoff, against Chucky or Annabelle. Considering they’re all Universal IP, we can always dream. As it stands, M3GAN does manage to earn her spot on the shelf, just don’t be surprised if you ever find Fisbee’s gone missing.