‘M3GAN’ is a G00d horror comedy

Almost every day for the past few weeks, my house has been invaded by uninvited guests. One night a little girl appeared with the name of my eldest daughter; he went around my living room on battery powered roller skates. Then a shark-shaped remote-controlled monster truck appeared; It ran across the living room with more power than the car I drove in high school. Just a few days ago, our family added two new “pets”: colorful fish that take on a strange, robotic life when placed in a water tank.

They are toys. And during the holiday season, homes like mine are full of strange new hobbies, exciting kids and confusing – if not downright annoying – adults. So if early January isn’t the best time to release a new Hollywood movie, it’s a great time for a movie like M3GANthat these strange battery-powered toys turn into a stirring horror story about our collective thirst for distractions from real-life stress and pain.

Of course, the girl M3GANThe center deserves a break from stress and pain. Nine-year-old orphan Cady (Violet McGraw) is sent to Seattle to live with her workaholic aunt Gemma (Allison Williams). Gemma is an inventive and ambitious toy designer. He was clearly in touch with his inner child, but he hadn’t really figured out how to connect with real children. When the grieving and traumatized girl shows up at her tidy home, Gemma doesn’t know what to make of her.

He found an answer in his work. When Cady takes a liking to an old robot her aunt built in college, Gemma decides to ignore the orders of her obnoxious boss (Ronny Chieng) that she only wants to make cheap junk and instead complete the a prototype he had already told her about. Mothballs: A life-size robotic girl who can communicate with her owner through an advanced artificial brain. The prototype turned out to be “M3GAN,” a four-foot-tall doll with almost realistic skin, curly golden hair, a fancy beige dress, big blue eyes, a lively voice, and, by the way, an almost indestructible titanium body. and the ability to perfectly imitate the sounds he hears around him.

You see the pictures of M3GAN in this article and you hear this premise and you immediately think Child’s play meeting The Terminator. And finally there it is M3GAN becoming. However, Akela Cooper’s storyline (from a story by Cooper and producer James Wan) is a bit smarter than your usual slasher fare. Director Gerard Johnstone has a terrific sense of humor, and up M3GANIn the film’s final scenes, the film works less like a horror flick and more like a dark comedy about parenting, marketing, and greedy corporations.

The film’s opening sequences are punctuated by fake advertisements for Gemma’s toys, all of which echo the strange creatures currently occupying my own children’s playroom. (Probably none as weird as the robot fish that collapses every time my kids put it in the water.) And Johnstone still takes a twisted pleasure in poor Cady’s horrifying story and Gemma’s excitement to outsource his parenting responsibilities to M3GAN. Programming the doll allows her to impart folk wisdom, tell Cady (in a gentle, patient way) to flush the toilet or wash her hands, and even sing her a lullaby when she’s picked up. .

Of course, M3GAN – played by actress Amie Donald, voiced by Jenna Davis, and apparently augmented with enough animatronic special effects – begins to take her role as surrogate guardian so seriously that she treats anyone who would disturb her happiness of Cady, whether temporarily or for the greater good, as a threat. And when they happen, no one is safe.

The premise of the deranged, murderous, yet strangely lovable doll is ridiculous, and Cooper and Wan’s story treats it appropriately. They previously collaborated on the 2021 horror film smart, a hilariously weird thriller about a woman plagued by nightmarish visions of real murders. The concept isn’t unique, but the plot twists in the third act of the movie are really crazy; this movie seems designed less to make people scream in terror than to scream in disbelief and sadistic pleasure. In her best moments, like when Cady begins to trust and prefer M3GAN to Gemma and asks her doll to accompany them on a trip to a new school, M3GAN achieves the same weird vibe: not so much scary as terrifyingly hilarious.

He’s helped a lot by McGraw and Williams, both of whom are willing to push their characters into abrasive and even unlikable territory, which is key to a successful dark horror-comedy, where the audience has to begin to understand. -root for – or at least not completely dislike. – the “monster” at the center of the story. While M3GAN is clearly destined to be an evil killbot from the start, he’s also at times the most likable character in the film, thanks to his undying loyalty to Cady.

Eventually, M3GAN becomes less of a demented protector and more of an evil stock slasher, and at that point M3GAN becomes more routine and less interesting. So far, the movie is better than the junk that usually comes out this time of year. While most holiday toys in 2022 are destined to end up in storage bins or even the trash within weeks, I have a feeling M3GAN will stay longer than that. Don’t let him near my children.

RATING: 6/10

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