M3GAN15¦ Blu-ray, DVD
There is ever growing opinion that the advances in A.I. – Artificial Intelligence – signal the dawn of the end of mankind. Just remember that the next time you ask your fridge to order more eggs.
And it’s difficult to argue against, when every phone, tablet and computer has access to a digital ‘assistant’; cars can drive themselves and robots are being made with such a high level of braining power, they can make decisions for themselves. In short, we’re fucked.
And although this film is an impressive horror featuring an electronic doll on the loose, it could also be seen as yet another warning, that may well be seen as yet another ‘don’t say we didn’t warn you’ moment later in our doomed history.
After a tragic car accident, Gemma (Allison Williams) finds herself having to take charge of her young niece Cady (Violet McGraw). Up until this point she lived on her own, devoting much of her time and energy into her work, developing sophisticated toys for a company.
Her and her team were behind the successful Purrpetual Pets range of toys, and yet someone has already ripped off their idea and made it cheaper, causing their boss to be on their case to come up with a cheaper model.
Meanwhile, they’ve been working on a secret project, an advanced A.I doll going by the name M3GAN - Model 3 Generative Android. She is an impressive piece of kit, that walks and talks, but more importantly thinks and learns for itself. With Cady in a bad way, Gemma gets the impression that M3GAN can help her with the grieving process by being the perfect distraction. And she ends up being just that.
But when Gemma allows Cady to pair with the doll, she doesn’t quite know what she’s letting herself in for, as M3GAN starts to develop in a way that Gemma and her team never saw coming, with M3GAN becoming one deadly doll.
Kiwi director Gerard Johnstone’s film certainly engaged with audiences on its release, raking in over $176 million at the box office as it did. This is made more impressive considering it was only made for $12 million. And it has to be said it looks like a film on a far bigger budget too. Obviously the fact that M3GAN isn’t actually a robot helps, with the doll brought to life with a real authentic touch through puppetry and the good old fashioned approach of an actor in a costume.
And although the story is essentially a well-used template for robots going bad, it’s told with bagfuls of energy and heaps of humour to boot.
It’s also a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with M3GAN having a sharp tongue which she isn’t afraid to use. There’s also a great gag which features the doll at a piano playing a fitting track from the eighties, that will completely wash over a couple of those generations that were lucky enough to have not been there. But if you were, it will no doubt raise a wry smile.
If there’s one criticism you could make of the film, is that it may be a little slow off the mark of getting to the meat of the story, but it kind of makes up for it by being deliciously dark when it does all kick off.
There have of course been films of killer doll type things before, but M3GAN not only addresses the growing concerns that there are for the future of A.I, quite rightly too, but it does so with an obvious love and respect for the horror genre, whilst delivering a creepy experience with an assured style and deliciously dark humour.
It’s also worth considering it a cautionary tale for when you ask your digital assistant to turn off your lights, plunging you into a sea of uncertain darkness. Night night now...