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M3GAN (2022). M3GAN: Directed by Gerard Johnstone. With Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Amie Donald. A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own.

“I didnu0026#39;t vibe with M3ganu0026#39;s trailer when I first saw it. Killer artificial intelligence has been done time and time again plus adding the killer doll tropes just made it seem all the more cliche. But then the reviews came out, with critics heralding M3gan as a u0026quot;campy masterpieceu0026quot; and u0026quot;hilariousu0026quot; which admittedly piqued my interest. Having now seen M3gan, itu0026#39;s a comedy first but thereu0026#39;s enough horror here to still qualify it for the genre. There are moments where M3gan is running down a prospective victim or doling out her varied forms of punishment that had me shuddering in my seat. Most of it is happening off screen but I was pleasantly surprised by how far the movie pushed the envelope, even if it was only implied. So while I canu0026#39;t call M3gan horrific or even scary, thereu0026#39;s sufficient creepy material to qualify it for the genre still.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eEven though M3gan is kind of sporting the horror genre as a mask, I was mostly impressed with what the movie decided to focus its efforts on. Starting with the characters, I was surprised at how rough and awkward they made Gemmau0026#39;s character. This was actually a plus for me, it setup her reasons for pushing M3gan further even when it wasnu0026#39;t prudent to do so. She doesnu0026#39;t have paternal instincts and continues to be largely selfish so why not create something to do it for her? (this is obviously problematic thinking but more on that later). It also made her eventual connection with Cady more improbable yet believable. The film also points out the unhealthy nature of Cadyu0026#39;s attachment to M3gan several times in a clinical fashion. It establishes the stakes of how Gemmau0026#39;s choices have put Cadyu0026#39;s mental health in jeopardy and possibly caused long-term damage to her. I also appreciated Gemmau0026#39;s team (Cole and Tess) calling her out for her continued disregard of Cady in favour of her work. Surprisingly, M3gan also had a few moments when sheu0026#39;s trying to convince people to see things u0026quot;heru0026quot; way that she was surprisingly persuasive. Those moments helped me see her as more than just a mindless murdering machine. The only character that they missed the mark with is Gemmau0026#39;s boss David who is just too cartoonish to buy as an actual person. This decision seems to have been made to help make the corporate climate in the movie feel more ridiculous but they could have turned it down a notch without harming the overall tone. I wouldnu0026#39;t call it exemplary or superior character building but thereu0026#39;s enough work put in to build tension and get you to care about the characters even if itu0026#39;s in a passive way.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eM3gan only centres around a few characters so there isnu0026#39;t a huge cast to talk about. Allison Williams capably anchors the movie as Gemma. I havenu0026#39;t seen her in much since Get Out but her work in that was no fluke. She sells the unlikeable Gemma and then when she learns the error of her ways, she does a decent job of managing the turn. Violet McGraw does a good job as the largely meek and gentle Cady. Her scenes where she flips out are startling and not as believable but she still grades out well overall. Ronny Chieng is a little over-the-top as David but I have to assume he was being directed that way, even if not I still appreciate that he went for it as opposed to just slouching through it. Lori Dungey was also good, her character starts out as unassuming but becomes nastier as the proceedings keep moving. She kept it light enough to keep you from getting distracted but dark enough that you only felt so bad for her.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIu0026#39;ve talked about almost all of the other larger components of M3gan, the biggest and most notable takeaway is that if youu0026#39;ve got a darker sense of humour, M3gan is pretty funny throughout. From minute one, M3gan letu0026#39;s you know whatu0026#39;s up. The original Funki toys are so off-putting that they canu0026#39;t be taken sincerely and their functions are so comedic that the movie is making poop jokes with them. As much as I want to credit the design work and acting required to bring M3gan to life, sheu0026#39;s so far in the uncanny valley that she must be a permanent resident. The thought that anyone would buy her for their child is laughable. If you saw her in real life, you would shriek and run the other way instead of trusting her to care for your kids. To the movieu0026#39;s credit, this is clearly done intentionally and the creative team is winking at the audience. The scene where M3gan starts dancing to distract her prey is so creepily comedic that I was openly laughing at the thought that anyone would take it seriously. M3gan isnu0026#39;t as uproarious as the Happy Death Day series but they hit the right balance to make a good campy comedy.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eMy advice with M3gan is to not take it too earnestly and go in ready to acknowledge how ridiculous it is. Youu0026#39;re clearly supposed to be laughing with it and I did continuously. The critical praise has been a little hyperbolic but itu0026#39;s more difficult to achieve the correct mixture for something like this to work. I would happily recommend M3gan to horror enthusiasts looking for something that plays with the formula for comedic effect. I would grade it as a 7.5/10 rounding up in this case to an 8/10. A sequel has already been announced and Iu0026#39;m looking forward to checking it out when itu0026#39;s released.”

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