M3GAN: A Killer Good Time

M3GAN is a quick-paced and engaging retelling of an old horror movie trope


M3GAN movie poster by Universal Pictures.

Aiden Velez, Photographer

What do you get when you mix Barbie and the Terminator? That’s the question that the new horror and sci-fi film M3GAN asks, and in answering that, it manages to craft a story that is, in an era of dreadfully dull remakes, a refreshing new spin on the creepy doll concept. 

The movie revolves around Gemma, played by Allison Williams, a brilliant roboticist employed by the stereotypical heartless toy corporation, and her niece Cady, played by Violet McGraw, who gets thrusted into Gemma’s care when her parents die in a car crash. Trying to prove her worth to her boss by creating the ultimate toy, Gemma crafts M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android), a humanoid robot that can serve as both a parent and a best friend, so long as you don’t mind the occasional homicide. The film follows a string of murders that leaves Gemma racing to stop the monster she created.

Prior to its release in theaters, the film gained popularity on social media platforms for its trailer’s trendy soundtrack and clips of M3GAN’s killer dance moves ​​(no pun intended). But for once, this film lived up to the hype and delivers a story that is quick paced and riveting. It grabs your attention for the entirety of its 102-minute runtime with a blend of jumpscares, savage deaths, and humor. I headed into the theaters expecting another horrifyingly disappointing horror film but was surprised by how well executed the plot was. 

Beyond its plot, however, the movie has an unexpectedly valuable underlying message.

In an era when artificial intelligence can write our essays, the iPad has replaced the pacifier for kids, and the Instagram algorithm seems to know us better than our friends do, the premise of M3GAN feels perfectly plausible, and moviegoers will be left questioning their own dependence on technology. Throughout the movie, M3GAN’s primary user Cady becomes more and more reliant on her murderous machine, favoring her over the humans in her life. This strikes almost too close to home for viewers like me who increasingly find themselves opening social media instead of turning to an actual person for companionship. 

Despite all of the positives in this movie, it has to be acknowledged that for a movie promising horror, it does just about everything but horrify. Its PG-13 rating is an accurate reflection of just how scary the movie actually is with only a handful of minor jumpscares and gory moments making up the bulk of the “fright” in this film. I heard audience members giggle at a death meant to be gruesome, and the number of laughs in the theater far outweighed the number of screams. But the film seems perfectly self-aware of its comical elements, using them to its advantage as a tool to keep the audience engaged.

Though hardcore thriller fans might want to pass on M3GAN in favor of scarier options, I found it to be a fun and intriguing light “horror” film and would definitely recommend it as a great after school activity, especially since it’s showing at theaters right by Dreyfoos. Overall, the film is a standout in an era of duds, and I would not be surprised to see a M3GAN 2 coming to a theater near you.