A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own.
Dolls have always been creepy little things and they’ve proven rich fodder for filmmakers over the years, whether their movie is a horror set in Victorian times or a serial killer slasher. ‘M3gan’ is the latest movie to leverage the creepiness of dolls, in this satirical story about an advanced robotic doll that goes on a killing spree. Set in the present day (or the near future), ‘M3gan’ builds its narrative around the simple setup that in our modern, consumerism obsessed times, people would be unusually comfortable with inviting this kind of technology into their homes.
The premise of this satirical slasher centres on Gemma (Allison Williams), a successful toy creator who is looking for her new project after developing a series of ‘pet’ toys that could replicate many actual animal functions (the spoof adverts are great). That involves developing ‘Megan’, a highly advanced robot that can hold conversations and essentially become a real friend for children – something that is particularly relevant for Gemma as she now finds herself the guardian of Cady (Violet McGraw), her niece who was the sole survivor of a car crash that killed her parents. Of course, this doll learns a lot more than just how to be a good friend to a little girl desperately in need of one, and her sadistic, violent side soon comes out to play.
‘M3gan’ is essentially a ‘Child’s Play’ for the world we live in today, with its themes around consumerism taking a backseat to the over the top violence the filmmakers are only too happy to indulge. It is a ridiculous film, bad in many ways, but there’s something to be said for a film that has its tongue so firmly in cheek and embraces its inherent silliness, even as some horrific acting (Ronny Chieng, who plays the guy who runs the toy company, is Razzie-worthy) and tonal inconsistencies threaten to run it entirely off course (it’s never sure if it’s a suspenseful thriller or a slasher comedy, so it ends up a bit of both). This absurdity is part of the charm I guess, even as it never fully won me over.
Directed By: Gerard Johnstone
Starring: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Amie Donald, Jenna Davis and Brian Jordan Alvarez