Last weekend, I went to see “M3GAN” at the Bohm Theatere downtown with some friends. When we walked into the lobby that afternoon, we asked the employee at the candy counter what kind of movie“M3GAN” was. A few of my friends were worried it would be too scary, but we were curious since it was rated PG-13.
“I don’t think you have to worry about it being too scary,” the employee said.
After having seen “M3GAN,” I can confidently say that it was so much more than just scary. It was one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen.
“M3GAN” follows the story of Gemma, a robotics genius who finds herself unequipped to support her eight-year-old niece, Cady, after her parents die in a freak accident. As her new guardian, Gemma builds her a life-size robotic doll, M3GAN, and instructs her to keep Cady safe and happy. Ignoring the entirely inadequate and dangerous parenting here, M3GAN is, as one might expect, a little too good at her job.
Directed by Gerard Johnstone and written by Akela Cooper and James Wan, the film has a diverse and unique assembly of creators behind it. Wan, one of the lead writers, also worked on “Saw and “The Conjuring.” It shows.
With horror movie giant Blum House handling the production and trailers pushing a narrative of uncanny horror, the film’s marketing presented it as a film akin to “Child’s Play.” I, for one, was prepared for a suspense-filled thriller to open the new year.
The trailers did not prepare me for the surreal experience of seeing this film.
Immediately, the acting is an unlikely highlight. The lead role of the introverted tech genius, Gemma, is played by Allison Williams, best known for her chilling role as the deceiving girlfriend in Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.”
Personally, my favorite character is Gemma’s high-strung boss, David, played by Ronny Chieng. His performance was over-the-top and hilarious, and his take on the comedy of the film is executed with incredible sincerity to its irreverent script.
That being said, the acting and characters were generally single-faceted, with little real development or change. However, the cast achieves this somewhat shallow portrayal well, leaving the characters single-minded, yet entertaining.
The movie kicks itself into high gear with excellent visual effects and some effective jump scares. The violence of the movie is creative, and when M3GAN leans into her more murderous side, the results are memorable.
However, it is far from visionary in its execution, and many of its most intense scenes are undercut with bizarre comedic timing. As M3GAN becomes more and more unhinged, so does the script.
Cady teaches M3GAN TikTok dances. M3GAN absurdly runs on four legs even when it does nothing to make her faster. And, my personal favorite scene goes something like this:
It’s the middle of the night, and M3GAN is charging next to Cady’s bed, when Cady asks her if she hurt someone the previous day. M3GAN goes to her bedside and tells her she’ll do anything to keep her safe and then, with no warning, sings approximately seven lines of Sia’s “Titanium.”
If that isn’t enough to get you remotely interested, you probably won’t like it.
A friend of mine, Grand Rapids first-year Abby Dombrowski, who saw the movie with me summed up the experience well.
“I don’t even know how to condense my opinions on this movie into coherent words,” Dombrowski said. “There was just so much that happened. And it left me intrigued but also worried and disappointed.
Dombrowski said she was worried that this was the future of cinema.
Though I share her bewilderment, I don’t believe that it was a complete waste of time.
“M3GAN” is a strange cocktail of humor, horror and plain shock, with the aftertaste of a genuinely entertaining experience. Though this was not the kind of movie one leaps to watch for its quality or cultural relevance, it is the perfect movie to rip apart with friends.
So yes, I recommend “M3GAN,” but don’t say nobody warned you.