M3GAN shows that the rise of artificial intelligence is anything but child’s play

Twin themes of control and grief share the stage in new horror release, M3GAN, and neither overshadows the other, says Times Film Reviewer Matthew Dann


Given that January is often a dumping ground for the mainstream studios, it is nice to see something different on our cinema screens.

The film M3GAN has a very simple plot – a toy engineer designs a doll – the Model 3 Generative Android – which wreaks havoc as it takes on a life of its own.

The film’s main two themes of control and grief occupy equal screen time, with neither overshadowing the other as the film plays out.

First comes the question of who controls technology – is it the human inventors and users, or does the technology itself dominate?

The actors play their roles very well, especially Amie Donald (M3GAN) and Jenna Davis (M3GAN’s voice). Between them, they bring M3GAN to life, with a monotone chill to ‘her’ voice, and with an expert blend of robot and human to ‘her’ movements.

Like M3GAN ‘herself’, the film itself is a carefully crafted machine and works extremely well. It is primarily a horror, but achieves this without much in the way of blood and gore.

The film itself flows at an easy pace, with plenty of chills and gags on display and no real low points to mention.

The theme of grief is dealt with well, with both plot and characters showing that humans are, quite often, very ill-equipped to deal with loss.

In fact, if possible, rather than deal with it, we would often prefer to outsource grief.

Allison Williams, who plays Gemma, is very good as the robotics engineer charged with looking after her orphaned eight-year-old niece. In many ways, she is the film’s antagonist.

Meanwhile, Violet McGraw is equally good as Gemma’s niece Cady, portraying a sweet kid who bonds with M3GAN while grieving her losses.

However, for me it was Ronny Chieng as Gemma’s boss David who provided the standout performance. He embraces his role well and really steals the show.

As the doll goes on to wreak havoc, the plot nevertheless takes centre stage, while the gore is very much secondary, which I believe helps the film rather than being a hindrance.

All in all, this is a well-engineered, quirky film that deserves your attention.

M3GAN is currently playing at the Odeon in Tunbridge Wells.

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter