2023 is the year that I start writing long-form movie reviews again. Probably. Well, at least I’m off to a good start with M3GAN, the first movie I’ve watched this year. This movie had some amazing marketing, a familiar premise, and a big promise of horror shenanigans. Did it deliver? Let’s find out.
If you don’t think you even know the premise, you really do. It’s Chucky. It’s Annabelle. It’s every sci-fi-gone-wrong trope. It’s an allegory for the encroachment of electronics into children’s lives. It’s a warning about AI. All the things you’ve seen a million times in different forms. And M3GAN is… passable.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the movie. The doll was appropriately creepy. Allison Williams acted the hell out of her role. The story, though basic, proved effective enough. Easy to follow and enjoy.
The problem? This thing is rated PG-13, y’all, and if you’re going to make a PG-13 horror movie, you’re already playing catch up. This movie could have been a brutal shlock-fest like Violent Night or it could have been a chilling, thought-provoking reflection of how technology affects our youth. It tries to be both and doesn’t fully succeed at either.
With its rating, it doesn’t ever get gory or violent enough to make you truly appreciate this evil doll from the worst timeline of Apple. And any message it may want to impart gets buried halfway through the movie when the thread kinda gets lost and Megan just goes on a killing rampage, ostensibly to protect her “primary user,” but it feels a little more like she decided killing is fun, which, hey, could happen. I’ve seen the horror that AI image generation has created.
It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not nearly as good as it could have been had it picked a direction and doubled down on it. It may have been able to get there with better editing alone. It is a quick, breezy movie, though, and there are enough savage deaths and creepy doll movements to make it a good time at the movies as long as you aren’t expecting too much.
If you like horror, and especially creepy dolls, then sure. Otherwise, hope for better horror down the road.
Should you watch it? If you like creepy dolls enough, then sure.
Should you take your kids? Are you a monster? Of course not.
What you should watch first: Nothing required.