Spoilers would’ve picked a nerf gun instead.
Okey, so how are we doing this one. I think the premise of the perfect AI gaining sentience and becoming a threat is familiar to all audiences at this point. There’s really no way that the premise, the poster, the title doesn’t give the movie plot away. Then again, have we seen a horror film done about a toy with a kid – oh wait, we have. Actually, the movie does add a dramatic angle and perhaps that’s its weirdest flaw. However, I did wanted to see how it turned out.
M3GAN (2022) was directed by Gerard Johnstone and written by Akela Cooper and James Wan. Gemma (Allison Williams) is a robotics designer trying to create the next best thing in children’s toys. However, rather than going for the cheap product her boss wants, she’s been experimenting with a more sophisticated AI and a robotic doll. Her sister and her husband lose their lives on a car accident, leaving behind young Cady (Violet McGraw). As her closest relative, Gemma brings Cady home but has very little idea how to relate even in the most basics of level with a child, much less one that has suffered so much trauma.
The movie has the subtlety of a runaway train. Gemma literally ignores all warning signs that Cady is suffering or needs a friend, or structure or a sense of belonging. She also ignores her own coworkers as to the point of recklessness. It’s here where the idea that this could have worked as a comedy, and perhaps even does without that being the intention. Everyone that is introduced that is a particular threat such as Gemma’s annoying boss David (Ronny Chieng), the annoying dog, the annoying neighbor, the annoying kid bully and so forth, are played over the top as villanous caricatures. You know they’re going to end up in M3gan’s crosshairs. We’re cheering for the bad doll to have them get their comeuppance.
Waiting for the film to setup all their pins in a row for later becomes tedious fast. Allison Williams is just ok as Gemma. She’s a bit of a one-note character that doesn’t seem to figure things out until it’s too late. A little more depth would have gone a longer way. You could play this as Gemma becoming more human while M3gan is exposed as a machine, but when the doll starts quipping as she starts dropping bodies you remember what movie you’re really watching. Yes, there is some entertainment in the last act, but it’s been a while to get there.
Lightly recommended for a slow night. I wish there was more of an edge to it, but at least it does what it sets to accomplish in the beginning. It doesn’t bring much to the table, but at least it does deliver on some level. Don’t expect gore or particularly nasty scary scenes but do avoid the trailers. Perhaps worth a watch on a rainy day.
That will do for now.