M3gan is proof that the January dump season is officially over. It’s not the deep dive pile of misplaced films that don’t have a dedicated audience. Since COVID killed the modern theater experience, we’re now into a brave new world. Gone are the days of I, Frankenstein and Eye of the Beholder. Now, we’re firmly off the map.
Blumhouse does better outside of Halloween
After the misfire that was Halloween Ends, I was wondering what Blumhouse would do next. The Black Phone was rather amazing, so I guess it’s like the Star Trek films. Bad, good, bad, good, bad, surprisingly good and so on as the line moves forward. Now, we’ve got a PG-13 movie that has been obviously edited to appeal to a wider audience. So, why is M3gan so good?
The answer is in self-awareness. When you make a movie about a tiny girl robot, you lean into the situation. No one is going to a movie to see a riveting screed about AI and what constitutes sentience. We all saw Ex Machina and the only thing people remember is Oscar Isaac dancing to Get Down Saturday Night.
As Avatar 2: Electric Boogaloo continues to be the only movie that can make obscene money in America, we see Film Twitter and other outlets meltdown over how little the rest of the world responds to their demands. M3gan is going to be a hit for two reasons. People like spectacle and they like to see unusual things murder mediocre people.
From Black Phones to Little White Girls
Blumhouse is the closest to the older horror labels. People want to look back at the 70s/80s/90s with this weird sort of nostalgia. But, it totally omits the C-grade films from the cinematic bangers that line many collector’s shelves. For every Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween, there are a million movies like Man’s Best Friend or Blades.
Learn to appreciate the schlock alongside the prime material. They all inform each other.
The constant fear of technology as horror source
Technology has always been a source of horror in all fictional narratives. People stay in fear of being replaced and M3gan is no different. Throughout the film, we get to watch Allison Williams barely function as an adult. So, when she is tasked with Cady…she is out of place. Naturally, this leads to the introduction of M3gan as a tech assistant.
While Allison Williams tries her best as the distant aunt Gemma, she fails in a way that all humanity has failed since the birth of the smart phone. After all, if you don’t have to remember phone numbers or how to spell, then why does it matter to focus on anyone else in your life? Gemma didn’t ask to be stuck with Cady, so M3gan is close enough to fill in, right?
So, why is Aunt Gemma scared when M3gan wants to replace her as a far better guardian? After all, isn’t it the promise of AI to make our lives easier?
People will draw comparisons to Child’s Play, but that’s pedestrian at best
The real comparison for M3gan is a little seen movie called Making Contact. One of the first Roland Emmerich movies, it was shot around American Air Force bases in West Germany, so most of the English speaking cast are tied to that community. While the orphaned kid and weirdo vibes tie M3gan and Making Contact together, the films are even more tied together than that.
The central kid is supported by a strange entity that shouldn’t be alive. When they have to rely on their out-of-the-norm family members, things get strange. While Making Contact was edited to Hell for American audiences and featured a cast that didn’t always speak English, Allison Williams and her acting choices are all on her.
Before we wrap, I’ll answer the question that matter. Yes, you can take a 10 year old or older to go see the movie. Some of the kills might be too much for younger audiences.