Introduction paragraph: With a combination of horror, comedy, and human drama, Gerard Johnston’s M3GAN is a revolutionary film that follows the story of a killer doll who is anointed by fans to become an icon. The movie stars Amy Donald in an eerily impressive prosthetic, and Alison Williams as the brilliant roboticist aunt of the main character, Cady. M3GAN is programmed to “mate” with Caddy, and as their relationship progresses, M3GAN’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and protective of Cady’s safety. The film is masterfully marketed, with the first trailer going viral on TikTok in October 2022. As viewers watch M3GAN become truly evil, they will be drawn into the movie and develop a strong connection with the character. With its light touch and the right ingredients, M3GAN is sure to become an icon and a legend.
Can you create an icon or does the icon have to be anointed by fans? This creepy and funny horror film — already a huge hit in the US — suggests that the former is possible with the right ingredients and a light touch. Directed by Gerard Johnston recently told NME that she wants the main character, a killer doll who follows in the footsteps of genre legends Annabelle and Chucky, to become “her own icon”. It can easily smack of overkill, but Johnston seems to have really nailed it.
Of course, the marketing of the film was masterful: when the first trailer was released in October, the dance scene went viral on TikTok, as dance scenes often did in 2022. But the main reason that M3GAN will inspire memes for weeks and maybe months to come because she’s a great character in a very interesting movie. Many viewers will support this AI. killer, even when—perhaps especially when—she becomes truly evil.
The film opens with eight-year-old Cady (Violet McGraw), sent to live with her aunt Gemma (Alison Williams) after being orphaned in a car accident. Gemma, a brilliant roboticist who works for a Seattle company that makes Furby-like gadgets called Purr-fect Pets isn’t exactly a parent: when Kady comes to her house, she scolds her for touching a toy that should be “collectible”. However, she thinks she has the perfect companion for her grieving niece: “M3GAN,” short for Model 3 Generative Android, a fully-formed prototype of lifelike artificial intelligence. a doll that Gemma believes will revolutionize the market.
From M3GAN is programmed to “mate” with Caddy, their relationship becomes almost symbiotic as they spend more time together. In the process, M3GAN begins to protect the little girl to the exclusion of everything else: when the neighbor’s dog bites Caddy, his days are numbered. It would be a shame to reveal anything else, but it certainly wouldn’t be a spoiler to say that M3GAN’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic as she focuses more and more on Caddy’s safety. Portrayed by actress Amy Donald under an eerily impressive prosthetic, the doll is equal parts elegant and unsettling.
Director Johnston, who previously helmed the low-budget New Zealand horror film Homebound, deftly blends comedy, panic and human drama in a clever script by Malignant screenwriter Akela Cooper. M3GAN often gory and mannered in the same scene, but he never winks cynically at the audience, even when the doll starts singing or doing some ridiculous dance moves. It helps that Williams, who also executive produces, plays a regular woman who is well-intentioned and selfish, at least from the start.
M3GAN it was obviously created with the expectation of a future franchise, but it’s hard to be mad when a character has this much potential. Also, as fun as this movie is, there’s still room for improvement the second time around, where fans will probably want the killer doll to go crazy faster. But right now, to borrow some internet talk, M3GAN is an icon, she’s a legend, and she’s a moment.