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Review: M3GAN – “A new horror icon that everybody will love.”

In M3GAN, the new Blumhouse horror film released in the UK on Friday, Alison Williams (Get Out) plays Gemma, a techy toy-collecting and building nerd, who following the death of her sister finds herself the guardian of her little niece, Cady (Violet McGraw, The Haunting of Hill House). Gemma may be unequipped to be a mum but she is very equipped to design and build Cady an android companion toy, M3GAN – Model 3 Girl ANdroid.

As soon as Gemma’s toy company boss, a gloriously greedy performance from Crazy Rich Asians’ Ronny Chieng, sees M3GAN he sees dollar signs so M3GAN’s learning capacity and abilities to protect Cady are ramped up and Gemma and her team of engineers, in Jurassic Park parlance, are so concerned with whether they could, that they don’t stop to consider whether they should. It also doesn’t help that, in the race to meet the launch date, they all forget to put any violence inhibitors on M3GAN, so she is not only fiercely protective of her child charge but is also equipped and totally happy to kill to keep her safe.

M3GAN is what the Child’s Play remake should and could have been if it had been more concerned with being good than making a quick buck off of a recognisable IP. The pint-sized protector is lethal but also, importantly, likeable from her very inception – a cool Robocop-esque creation sequence. Within the film and outside of it, M3GAN is a great character who, yes, is a murderous villain, but, is a murderous villain we get a kick out of seeing villainously murder. She’s not crazy, she’s just looking out for Cady, and when an audience will cheer for your baddie when they straight up murder another child (he is a little shit, but still) – you’ve done something right.

For the entire film, you’ll know exactly what’s coming next, even the excellent Deus Ex machine that is the cherry on a chaotic and banging third act is telegraphed ridiculously obviously, and it’s so pie-in-the-sky unbelievable that a character has to literally call it out just so as the audience don’t think that they think we’re stupid. But, thanks to a great script from Akela Cooper (Malignant) and assured direction from the helmer of the excellent Housebound, Gerard Johnstone, the ride is still a lot of fun and we go along with all of it happily eating up all the genuinely chilling and iconic moments M3GAN constantly gets and gives.

And that’s the power of M3GAN. Cooper, Johnstone and modern master of horror James Wan, who came up with the story, have created a character that has captured the zeitgeist and is a new horror icon that everybody will love. Viva M3GAN, I hope the sequel has an army of her.

M3GAN is released in the UK on the 13th January 2023.

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