The year 2022 saw a sharp jump in the development of artificial intelligence and neural network technologies. AI is already able to conduct almost adequate dialogues and create images, imitating the styles of world-famous artists. And although such news is impressive from a technological point of view, at the same time it causes anxiety and even fear in many people. It is on these feelings that the authors of the horror film “M3GAN” try to play. We tell you in the review below what they got as a result.
“M3GAN” / M3GAN
Directed by Gerard Johnstone
Starring: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Amy Donald, Ronnie Chien, Laurie Dungy
Release year 2023
The main characters of the film are a female robot Jemmy (Allison Williams) and her niece Cady (Violet McGraw). The latter lost her parents in a car accident, so she lives with her aunt. However, Gemma is an inveterate workaholic, so she knows almost nothing about family life, and even more so about raising children. But it creates almost the best children’s robotic toys in the industry.
So Gemma decides to combine her desire to help her niece with her career ambitions. The result is a prototype of the M3GAN girl toy, which is capable of learning and developing. M3GAN bonds with Cady and becomes her best friend. However, the robotic toy’s learning speed and the conclusions it reaches could potentially pose a danger to everyone around it.
If you analyze “M3GAN” at the level of a concept, the ideas embedded in it sound very interesting and relevant. The film simultaneously touches on the themes of understanding the death of loved ones, hyper-fixation on toys, overcoming the gap in relationships and the dangers of uncontrolled development of artificial intelligence. There was even a place for corporate intrigue and interaction between companies that seek only profit and people for whom the main thing is a beautiful show.
It is noticeable that “M3GAN” did not appear spontaneously, that its meaning was seriously thought out, and before the start of production, the team conducted separate studies to understand what worries modern people. But the medley of meanings listed above could alarm someone by the very fact of mentioning it. After all, the lack of a clear focus can destroy even the most worthy ideas. “M3GAN” is just such a case.
It is worth starting at least with the fact that, as a horror film, it is absolutely not scary. And yes, something similar can be heard somewhere about 90% of modern horror films. But “M3GAN” doesn’t even try to come up with some inventive approach to trying to cause a feeling of fear. It’s a shame to call local screamers even “screamers”, and the film doesn’t particularly offer anything else.
In itself, this is not scary, because many films that failed in the horror elements compensated for the lack of fear with other interesting moments. And “M3GAN” could equally produce a sharp social statement about the danger of AI or a touching description of the life of not the most standard people who overcome their complexes and problems for the sake of each other.
With the latter, the situation becomes clear very quickly, because the characters here do not arouse any sympathy. Even the classic trick “child after a tragedy” is performed here so clumsily and unemotionally that you will not be able to get attached to Cady. Gemma is also repulsive, but her social awkwardness is at least understandable.
As a result, as a viewer, you do not particularly worry about the main characters. This is rather a situation where you want the villain in the person of M3GAN to lose as soon as possible. And there is also an interesting situation with her.
We all have long known the principle of the “uncanny valley”, when something that looks like a person, but clearly does not reach it, causes subconscious fear. That is why there are always mannequins and dolls in horror movies.
Only the designers did such a good job with M3GAN that it minimally affects the principle of the “uncanny valley”. Her appearance itself is not even particularly confusing. Perhaps partly responsible for this is the excellent acting performance of Amy Donald, who in many moments embodied a toy robot on the screen. That is, she is too human, which marks one of the main elements of fear.
In addition, the film is embarrassed by frankly cringe-worthy and, frankly, stupid moments that shift the emphasis of the story towards silly comedy. The authors spent several scenes with cheerful music for M3GAN to teach Cady how to flush the toilet. And at one point, the toy completely inappropriately starts singing the track Titanium by David Guetta and Sia.
The apogee of this approach was the dance of M3GAN, which can easily get the title of the most inappropriate moment in cinematography for the year for sure. At the same time, the logic of his presence in the film is clear. They tried to make a TikTok trend out of it to further promote the movie. But why make such an advertising move so clumsily and inappropriately is a big question.
The moment with the dance illustrates one key idea that can be used to describe all of M3GAN. This is a film that was primarily made by technologists, analysts and PR people, but by no means “traditional” creators of film art. Because of this, the description of the film and conversations about it can even look attractive. But as soon as you meet him in person, everything falls apart.
In “M3GAN” there is not a single really good moment. Therefore, better watch this clip, where M3GAN came together in a dance match with Wednesday. It is much more enjoyable than 100 minutes of horror film.
Pros: interesting and relevant ideas embedded in the script; if you like frank cringe and stupid moments, you can get your strange pleasure from “M3GAN” Cons: trying to cover too many topics at once leads to a lack of clear focus in the script; the characters do not evoke any sympathy; straightforward horror moments, uninventive and boring; completely inappropriate attempts to turn the film into a TikTok trend Conclusion:
The huge number of positive reviews on “M3GAN” in various professional publications is truly surprising. It feels as if everyone either conspired or understood some hidden deep joke in the film. Because his jokes on the surface do not cause smiles, and serious moments can only be annoying