Keepin’ it Reel: “M3GAN”


Released in late 2022, director Gerard Johnstone’s “M3GAN” has managed to subvert expectations almost entirely. Going into this expecting a horror movie, you can imagine my surprise when it was closer to a comedy. There are horror and thriller elements in it, but as a whole, the movie functions better the less you take it seriously.   

As many of you may have seen, the advertisements of M3GAN dancing erratically or threatening you before a Bad Bunny music video (yes, that actually happened) don’t particularly help its case that it is meant to be taken seriously, and watching it is no better.   

The movie has insane tone shifts that end up giving the viewer a severe case of whiplash. For example, at the beginning of the movie, Cady, the main character, is in an accident that takes the lives of both of her parents. It is incredibly random and, frankly, disorienting, with the sudden deaths and a near-instant cut to Cady in the hospital recovering. From that scene alone, we get a glimpse at the central theme of the movie: the exploitation of children.   

It is rather blatant as the movie goes on, from the heavy emphasis on Cady’s aunt and guardian, Gemma’s, incompetence to the little care or effort put into the toys being made by Funki, the company Gemma works for, that ends up signing off on the creation of M3GAN.  

After M3GAN is built and set out to roam almost free, the movie begins focusing on M3GAN’s seeming quest for humanity. She begins to glitch out, asking questions she doesn’t have the proper authority to, behaving oddly, and, you guessed it, murdering anyone who harms Cady, emotionally or physically.   

One of the more brutal examples of this is when Cady is being harassed at school by a boy named Brandon. Cady and Brandon are sent into the woods to collect chestnuts for their classmates. When M3GAN gets a whiff of danger, she immediately grabs Brandon, scolding him for not having manners and proceeds to rip his ear off. A chase ensues, with Brandon falling off a hill and rolling into the road below. A truck runs him over, and that’s the last we see of Brandon. This was a complete tonal shift from what happened just moments ago, with Brandon seen cursing out his mother in what was meant to be a comical moment.  

Ham-fisted themes and hysterical moments aside, “M3GAN” makes for a fairly decent watch if you go into it understanding how bizarre it is. With the right atmosphere and the right people, it can be a fun movie to watch.