Per Matt
M3GAN is something like a Teddy Ruxpin-Skynet mashup, where the intended toy is meant to be the child’s protector, but it exceeds its original programming as it learns to become self-aware (with some assistance to its always-open internet connection). The world’s next great toy might just be a little too smart for its own good and Atomic Monster, along with Blumhouse Productions, knows exactly how to push the envelope with emerging technology fears, paired with artificial intelligence.

Friendship may have evolved between man and machine, but will this be humanity’s downfall?

In this film, little Cady’s (played by Violet McGraw) parents die in a car accident. Aunt Gemma (Allison Williams) adopts her niece, although as a single roboticist married to her job, her parenting skills are null and void. Hoping to calm Cady’s traumatic turn of events, Gemma’s latest prototype, M3GAN (“Model 3 Generative Android”), is designed to protect whoever it’s paired with. But is configuring best friends actually possible? And should we really do it?

Clearly, the doll’s programming malfunctions somewhere along the line and the 3-foot toy transforms into a nightmare creature, willing to terminate anyone (or anything) that it deems a threat to Cady. Killer robots could be our dark fate, unless we can prepare for one last stand…

I had an absolute blast attending a recent screening of this film! First of all, this is a multi-genre flick combining science fiction with a dark horror comedy. It’s goofy at times and thrilling at others. Technology can ultimately be what saves the human race, but it can also cause its extermination when things go wrong. And then there’s the social-commentary aspect of it all.

Kids of today absolutely rely on technology way too much. I may sound like an old fart with this belief, but it’s true. Just about every child cannot part with a handheld video game, phone or tablet once they’ve been introduced. Technology can easily provide entertainment, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for parenting (which happens all the time). There can be a dark side to it, and this release provides a cautionary tale.

The story wouldn’t be so chilling without the superb special effects by Weta Workshop. M3GAN comes to life through the efforts of Amie Donald’s body and Jenna Davis’ voice. Combined, they create a creepy, killer doll that’s equally engaging and terrifying. Unfortunately, the horror elements of the movie are muted in order to pacify the PG-13 rating, but I’m very hopeful there will be an unrated Blu-ray release somewhere in its future, as the filmmakers can finally display their original vision of the storyline. And that leads us to our main event.

This isn’t the first time Jason Blum has collaborated with James Wan — that would be Insidious, way back in 2010 — and the story excels with the filmmakers working in tandem. These are two of my favorite storytellers. Individually, they are very good, but very soon, as noted in the Hollywood Reporter, they may be combining their production studios for THE ultimate house of horrors. That is very exciting news!

I cannot wait for this eventuality, but until then, or Insidious: Fear the Dark (their next collab), M3GAN will suffice.