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M3Gan is campy crowd pleasing fun

Universal Pictures and Blumhouse introduce their latest horror character in M3Gan from director Gerard Johnstone. Rising horror writer Akela Cooper pens the screenplay from a story by her Malignant director James Wan.

M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a life-like doll programmed to be a child's most excellent companion and a parent's greatest ally. Designed by brilliant toy-company roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams), M3GAN can listen and watch and learn as she becomes a friend, teacher, playmate, and protector for the child she is bonded to.

When Gemma suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw), Gemma's unsure and unprepared to be a parent. Under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems, a decision that will have unimaginable consequences.

Following a humorous advertisement, the film opens with Cady (Violet McGraw), a young girl embarking on a ski trip amid a blizzard with her mother and father. A typical film scenario is where the parents fight in the front seat over their daughter's overexposure to technology as a storm rages outside, aggravating the situation.

Amid whiteout conditions and on a slippery road, Cady and her parents are involved in a catastrophic accident. This results in Cady being taken to the hospital and her parents dying. M3Gan then takes its time to set up the premise by showing us the struggles of grief through Cady's eyes and the lengthy process of creating a new toy.

Late last year, when the marketing campaign kicked off for M3Gan, I knew the film would either be a colossal failure or just a quick fun time waster. Thankfully the creatives behind the scenes pull out the stops to ensure the movie falls into the latter category. The setup is fast, and the laughs arrive at the right moments. During the third act, when all hell breaks loose, the crowd is having a blast.

Akela Cooper's screenplay only requires a little effort from the actors involved. The film's real star is Amie Donald, who gives M3gan the physical movements while Jenna Davis provides the voice. Williams and McGraw could both do a movie like this in their sleep.

M3Gan isn't winning any awards, and while I doubt, I will revisit the film anytime soon, the good folks at Blumhouse have another winner on their hands.

Final Grade: B

M3Gan is in theaters now


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