Angus McGregor breaks down this Januarys horror cinema blockbuster
Joining the likes of Chucky and Annabelle into the horror world of killer dolls comes M3GAN, the latest four-foot terror making waves in the genre. Following a teaser trailer that instantly went viral, hype began to build for Blumhouse’slatest creation, with many looking forward to seeing a highly silly horror film. Surprisingly though, there’s actually a lot more to the foundations of this film and although it delivers on the campiness, it is more than a solid horror feature.
Following the success of his Conjuring spinoff Annabelle, James Wan looked to take another approach to the murderous porcelain but through a different scope. Having nailed the paranormal, Wan was intrigued by exploring the technological route, leading to the eventual inception of M3GAN. With the look at humanity’s relation and reliance on technology, you could easily end up with a film that takes itself too seriously in trying to convey these themes, creating quite a mishmash with the silliness of a killer doll. However, these aspects are handled really well by Wan and screenplay writer Akela Cooper alongside director Gerrard Johnstone, creating a good mix between the two. Without nailing this, you run the risk of becoming a boring feature or one that is perhaps talked about for the wrong reasons. The film really nails the aspect of how we can be blinded by technologies advancements, placing profit and success ahead of the very alarming and key issues they may pose in the future.
This section revolves around the relationship between young Cady and her new doll, with the programming giving the strict orders to ensure she is protected. This creates a solid base for the horror aspects to dive in, with some genuinely shocking moments pushing the boundaries. This natural progression to an even more intelligent AI cranks up the terror, providing a great finale in the end. Here is when the film can delve further into its silliness, with the well-known dance scene fully delivering in the full feature. If anything, the film may be a little light on scares, perhaps delivering more moments that will have the audience laughing rather than hiding behind their hands. Perhaps with alleged sequels and having got thethemes well sorted, the door will be opened for further chaos and hopefully, more singing.
Aided by strong performances from Alison Williams (Get Out) and child star Violet McGraw (The Haunting of Hill House), the family dynamic within M3GAN helps create a realistic depiction as to what problems can be posed by tech. The duos chemistry is tremendous with McGraw truly shining throughout as the troubled youth Cady, displaying a great range at such a young age.
Delivering on crowd pleasing comedy moments as well as the occasional horror moments, M3GAN is a welcome surprise as to how good it actually is. A well crafted social media created enough buzz but thankfully, there was more to it than just the viral dance sensation depicted. With a sequel already being prepared, M3GAN is here to stay and could be the 2020’s first major horror icon.