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M3GAN (15)

Cast: Violet McGraw, Allison Williams, Jenna Davis
Genre: SciFi
Author(s): Akela Cooper
Director: Gerard Johnstone
Release Date: 13/01/2023
Running Time: 102mins
Country: US
Year: 2022

Gemma is working on the latest iteration of PurrPetual Petz for toy company Funki in Seattle when she learns that her sister Ava and brother-in-law Ryan have been killed in a car accident. She applies for temporary protective custody of her nine-year-old niece Cady and entrusts the grief-stricken girl to a high-tech doll called M3GAN, which is programmed to protect the orphan from harm.


LondonNet Film Review

M3GAN (15) Film Review from LondonNet

For decades, toy companies have jostled for supremacy on Christmas wish lists with must-have hi-tech companions such as Tickle Me Elmo, Tamagotchi, Furby, Teksta the Robotic Puppy, Robosapien and Go Go Pet Hamsters. Innovation is expensive but if a toy can spark the imaginations of the most powerful consumers – children – then an eye-watering price tag is largely irrelevant as demand outstrips supply and desperate parents initiate bidding wars on auction websites. M3GAN is a campy horror thriller from the twisted minds of Saw creator James Wan and screenwriter Akela Cooper, which pits an artificially intelligent, life-like doll costing 10,000 US dollars against its human creator and the toy company that intends to monetise the mind-blowing invention…

Director Gerard Johnstone’s blood-soaked battle of wits borrows circuitry from Child’s Play, Westworld, Jurassic Park and The Terminator to caution against a modern society that allows touchscreens and sleek technology to impinge on meaningful face-to-face interactions. The eponymous android is deadly serious about carrying out its primary directive – to protect a biometrically paired child from harm – and Cooper’s script introduces thinly sketched supporting characters that are ripe for slaughter, including a bullying boy (Jack Cassidy) and an inconsiderate neighbour (Lori Dungey). Violence ping pongs between dizzying extremes.

The murder of a household pet happens off screen while gratuitous torture sequences demand icky make-up effects that leave nothing to the imagination. The witless architect of this stomach-churning carnage is Gemma (Allison Williams), who is working on the latest iteration of PurrPetual Petz for toy company Funki in Seattle when she learns that her sister Ava (Kira Josephson) and brother-in-law Ryan (Arlo Green) have been killed in a car accident. The couple’s nine-year-old daughter Cady (Violet McGraw) is sole survivor of a head-on collision with a snowplough and Gemma applies for temporary protective custody of her grief-stricken niece.

With a design deadline looming that demands her attention, Gemma entrusts Cady to a high-tech doll called M3GAN (Model 3 Generative ANdroid), which has malfunctioned in development and needs to win the approval of her profit-hungry boss David (Ronny Chieng). Gemma’s co-worker Tess (Jen Van Epps) and child therapist Lydia (Amy Usherwood) express their concerns about Cady forming a strong emotional attachment to M3GAN but wise words fall on deaf ears.

M3GAN dispatches clearly signposted victims with gurgles of macabre humour and sufficient gore to warrant a 15 certificate. Screenwriter Cooper adds lines of sassy coding to the doll’s core data as the body count rises, climaxing with an inevitable showdown between inventor and malevolent creation. It’s game over for originality from the snow-laden opening sequence but Johnstone’s picture meets the demand for thrills and spills with a steady supply of ghoulish giggles.

– Jo Planter


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