“M3GAN” movie toys with redefining the horror genre

The upcoming ‘Barbie’ movie can take a back seat because there’s a new doll taking over silver screens across the country. If you’ve been on Twitter or TikTok at all in the past month, you’ve probably seen lots of chatter surrounding the movie ‘M3GAN.’ 

The film acts as yet another groundbreaking installment from Blumhouse Productions, the company behind some of the most successful horror movies to date, such as “Get Out,” “Black Phone” and “Ouija.” 

The movie ‘M3GAN’ is centered around a doll of the same name, a groundbreaking marvel of artificial intelligence. M3GAN is a life-like doll prototype programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s saving grace. 

Unlike other toys, M3GAN could give spontaneous responses to any prompt given or asked of her, breaking through the Uncanny Valley with her alarmingly accurate humanity.

Designed by brilliant inventor Gemma, played by “Get Out” actress Allison Williams, M3GAN suddenly becomes a big part of her life when she takes emergency custody of her recently-orphaned niece, Cady. 

As a fresh mother of a young and traumatized girl, Gemma is unsure and unprepared for the responsibilities of motherhood, ultimately deciding to pair Cady with the M3GAN prototype in an attempt to solve the problem – a decision that will prove to have fateful consequences. 

M3GAN will do anything to protect Cady, and nothing will get in her way, even if it means death.

When the trailer first dropped, it immediately garnered reams of traction online. The first teaser, specifically, featured M3GAN chasing a man down. The dim lights in the hallway flickered menacingly before cutting to the face of her target, slowly backing away in fear. 

M3GAN stands still, her demeanor menacing. Suddenly, she breaks out in dance, two-stepping back and forth, high-kicking and doing the splits, before continuing the pursuit against her target.

Many users online immediately gravitated towards the film, appreciating the elements of horror and camp that the movie was mixing together, an enjoyable meld of science fiction, horror and comedy rarely seen in movies today.

If I had to describe the movie with one word, I would choose “ridiculous.”

 “M3GAN” as a movie fills up a kiddie pool with absurdity and splashes around in it, at no one’s expense.

Despite the humor, however, the movie is considerably smart. The undertone lurking beneath the entire film could be summarized into one concept: The Turing Test. The Turing Test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equal to or indistinguishable from a human being.

M3GAN’s prototype was built to constantly adapt to her environment to ensure the best quality care for her paired subject. But as her software constantly updated and improved, she developed artificial sentience, an idea that lingers in the back of everyone’s minds in an age of rapidly advancing technology.

The movie even prods at this idea in the movie’s ending, where an innocent Alexa-esque robot lights up and turns towards the camera, before the screen cuts to black.

M3GAN does a great job of making a horror movie that stays within the bounds of its PG-13 rating. The director didn’t feel the need to rely on prepackaged jumpscares or cheap thrills to scare the audience. 

While the movie is scary in some aspects, it is also smart enough to not take itself too seriously. And honestly? M3GAN is the type of friend that we all need in 2023.

Header Photo: “M3GAN” is another film from Blumhouse Productions, legendary horror movie producers. They’ve produced films such as “Us,” “Get Out,” “The Invisible Man,” and “Black Phone.” (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Joey Erickson at joseph.erickson.2@mnsu.edu

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