Gaslight, gatekeep, girl boss: “M3gan’ rampages into viewers’ fears

Otis Mazurkiewicz, Staff Writer

Growing up isn’t easy, but what if you had a toy that could love you, sing to you, provide emotional support and tuck you in at night? Look no further than “M3gan.” 

This new sci-fi horror movie explores a human-like bond created by a little girl and her life-size doll. Taking place in modern-day Los Angeles, “M3gan” stars Violet McGraw, Allison Williams and Ronny Chieng. McGraw is no stranger to horror, as she can be found in 2018’s “The Haunting of Hill House” and 2019’s “Doctor Sleep.” Williams can be found in 2017’s “Get Out” and in 2018’s “The Perfection.” And Ronny Chieng can be found in 2021’s “Shang-Chi” and “The Legend of the Ten Rings,” as well as 2018’s “Crazy Rich Asians.” 

After a horrific car crash, young Cady is left without her parents, forcing her to move in with her mother’s workaholic sister, Gemma. Gemma struggles to empathize with Cady. She works for a toy manufacturing company, destined to invent the next big toy. Gemma introduces Cady to Megan, her newest toy prototype for work. Cady and Megan become best friends right away with their seemingly inseparable bond. The biggest problem with Megan is her questionably advanced code. She is designed to protect her primary user, no matter the circumstances. If Megan recognizes threats to Cady, she will murder them. Megan was never meant to have the power to kill people, but her code excelled way too quickly for Gemma and her team to notice. Despite the toy company knowing the dangers of Megan, they prepare to roll her out to the public.

The most interesting aspect of this film is the directing. Instead of showing violence and gore, the film nearly never shows it. Whenever someone suffers the wrath of Megan, the movie cuts to another scene. There is still gore in “M3gan” but not an overpowering amount. This method of directing leaves the viewer with their thoughts to envision what it was like for the victims of the doll, which is quite horrendous. In one scene, Megan recognizes Gemma’s neighbor’s dog as a threat to Cady, so she tricks the dog into death. 

Another aspect of this film intriguing to me is its balance between humor and horror. I mean, the whole concept of introducing a doll to your family, to take the place of the responsibilities of parents is ironic within itself. As the M3gan doll becomes increasingly emotionally intelligent, her comedic skills increase as well. The film sets the tone of the film at the very beginning, with an advertisement for miniature fluffy toy creatures that drop feces when fed toy foods. Right after the advertisement the cameras cut to the car Cady and her parents are in, which crashes soon after, leaving Cady parentless. 

“M3gan” provides a comedic yet unsettling solution to a lack of parenting skills, an expensive robotic doll to replace the role of parents in a household. I think the true horror of “M3gan” is the fact that this scenario could happen in real life. This film comes off as a nod to what could happen if we continue to depend on technology too much. If you’re considering watching this movie, I recommend you go into it knowing the movie won’t be terrifying. “M3gan” is certainly unsettling and has a few scares scattered across the film, but other than that it’s an average modern horror movie. This movie would be a great choice to watch with friends.