Technology run amok and killer dolls (from “The Twilight Zone’s” Talking Tina to Chucky) are hardly new ideas, but “M3GAN” nevertheless finds a way to smartly add to the genre, with a crisp and funny horror tale made tastier because it’s set about 10 minutes in the future. For parents concerned about kids glued to screens, the prospect of a murderous android companion sounds like there but for the grace of Hasbro go I.
Produced by horror factory Blumhouse and “The Conjuring’s” James Wan (who shares story credit with screenwriter Akela Cooper), the film stars Allison Williams as the equivalent of a well-intentioned mad scientist whose best-laid plans go horrifically wrong.
Adding to her horror credentials from “Get Out,” Williams’ Gemma is forced to take in her suddenly orphaned nine-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw), who lost mom and dad in a car accident. Gemma is single and devoted to her work, which happens to involve developing products as a roboticist for a toy company, including something amusingly called Perpetual Petz, the perfect high-tech pet for a kid previously traumatized by burying a furry friend.
Gemma, however, has set her sights on a more ambitious product, a human-like android that bonds with its child owner and learns from their interactions. At a loss for how to deal with Cady, she gives her the prototype to the Model 3 Generative Android, or M3GAN for short, filling the void in the girl’s life while impressing her high-strung boss (Ronny Chieng) with its tantalizing commercial possibilities.
M3GAN is a marvel, with only a few minor glitches at first that ought to alarm everyone a little more than they do.
Of course, the good times can’t last, as M3GAN’s desire to protect Cady and spare her pain becomes increasingly aggressive, and occasionally deliciously dark and funny.
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