M3gan Triumphs More as a Comedy Than as a Horror Film
Are you afraid of AI technology? Do you think families will one day be overrun by computers? Are you fond of song and dance interpolated between scenes of gruesome murder? If so, you’ll love the new horror sci-fi movie, M3gan. I never particularly identified with any of these things, yet M3gan was still a delightful surprise. It was, perhaps not good, but by far the most entertaining movie I’ve seen in a while.
When an orphaned girl, Cady, moves in with Gemma, her ambitious toy-engineer aunt, a doll with artificial intelligence named M3gan is created to keep Cady safe. M3gan is not just a superficial plaything like most dolls, but she also seems capable of human emotions and forming human connections, making her basically a normal girl—except for the fact that she has superhuman strength, murderous intent and an unnatural affinity for a good musical number. Though the movie’s main theme is perhaps a bit overdone, the fun of it all made up for it in the end.
M3gan is a movie that would, in theory, be terrifying to 21st century people because its focus is on what would happen if we allowed computers to take over the jobs that only real people can have. However, to me, the theme is less impactful because of how overdone the topic is.
Everywhere you turn, there is someone warning you of the dangers of technology, throwing away their Alexa because it sends their private conversations to the government, and overall, beating a horse that’s been dead for years. The vast majority of my generation doesn’t think that things are better over a screen or that a computer can be a better friend to us than a real person can.
It seems that older generations make judgments on Generation Z because of our lack of entertaining small talk and our “incessant” cell phone usage, but from my own experiences, seeing the ineptitude of technology to meet my needs makes me seek out real connections even more fervently than I might if we didn’t have this technology.
Obviously, many people are validly afraid that computers will take over jobs in the future, but the idea that one day our generation will make computers take over the job of a parent is unbelievably silly. All that being said, the scare-factor of the movie fell a little flat for me, though I think it would probably be scarier to those who truly believe that technology will one day overrule human relationships.
This silliness carried over more favorably in other aspects of the movie, though. If you haven’t seen M3gan, you may be confused by my mention of songs and dances in a horror movie. Indeed, M3gan spontaneously sings songs throughout the movie and even bursts into a dance routine before killing one of her victims. Though it seems, and is, incredibly unnatural, it is what personally made the movie for me.
At a crucial point in the plot, when Gemma is showing M3gan to some toy company investors, Cady opens up to M3gan about her feelings about her parents’ death. After Cady tells M3gan about her favorite memory with her mom, M3gan saves the memory in her hard drive forever and then begins to sing a heartfelt song, even though no songs had previously been featured in the movie.
At this point, I was unable to sit up straight because I was laughing so hard, and the entire theater was cackling. The movie is aware of the hilarity of M3gan’s overly-saccharine disposition for a murderer, and so they amped it up to Annie levels of sappiness to make sure the audience knows that they know how silly it all is too. Watching this movie felt like you were in on the silliest inside joke in the world, and I honestly can’t remember laughing so much or so hard at any movie the first time I watched it.
So, is M3gan the type of horror movie that will keep you up at night, terrified of the ramifications of technology? No. Is M3gan the type of horror movie that will make you laugh right after a jump-scare? Yes. If you want to have a super fun and unique movie experience, I really recommend catching M3gan in theaters.