Thursday, March 2, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Technology running amok, creation turning against its creator, and TikTok dancing – there’s nothing new in M3gan to surprise audiences. Perhaps that is its great strength. In this world of comfort-watching, Gerard Johnstone’s film is a perfect child of the times. What you see is what you get: expect a murderous android to murder and it will murder, oh boy, will it murder.
Not to disparage M3gan in any way, no: It’s Chucky reborn for a new generation, an uncanny valley version of Frankenstein’s monster. A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own – I’ve read this one before, or, better yet, I’ve seen this one before.
The difference, though, is instead of a creepy dolly being played for straight horror, M3gan is a dark comedy and a successful one at that. It’s absurdly cheeky, it knows what it’s doing at every step. The cynic would chalk much of its clueing into trends up as a sort of advertising ploy – and undoubtedly there is a degree of correctness to that sentiment. What we see in M3gan is a film that capitalises on a new audience for horror with an old affection. Johnstone’s film is the ridiculous, funny horror of films like Freddy Vs Jason mashed with a TikTok twist.
Give the kids a four-foot-tall Barbie seemingly possessed by Satan, and they’ll eat it up. The cynic says: “This is why the film is rated a shy PG in America (though it’s stamped with a mature in our more sensitive country).” But the pessimist misses the point.
M3gan is exquisitely fun - by design - and its writer, James Wan, knows how to craft a creepy moment or two, so the horror is horrific, the humour humorous. For what it is, it is what it is. Temper your expectations for anything transcendental, and arrive to M3gan with this in mind: a manic murder toy of the moment who will have you laughing from between your fingers