‘M3GAN’ combines humor and horror to tell relevant, engaging story


New York Times

Despite being a movie about a deeply uncanny killer doll, “M3GAN” focuses more on dark comedy and subverting troupes then pure horror.

Amon Gray, Sports and Leisure Editor

The shot of the door frame widens to reveal M3GAN, a human-like doll. She stands stiffly upright. Her fixed expression is cold and her eyes are vacant. Her voice is stilted and robotic. She is here to comfort a grieving child and entertain the viewer with hilarity and terror.

As the latest iteration in a long line of killer-doll movies, “M3GAN” sets itself apart by emphasizing unapologetically dark comedy over horror while offering commentary about the relationship between parenting and technology.

The story of “M3GAN” follows Gemma, a toy company engineer, who adopts her 8-year-old niece, Cady, after the death of Cady’s parents. Unprepared and unequipped as a parent, Gemma decides to enlist the help of a prototype child companion robot that she designed, M3GAN. 

As soon as the titular M3GAN appears on screen, the movie finds its stride. While not a horror movie in principle, “M3GAN” is still unsettling and remains in the uncanny valley. Her movements, fashion and dialogue are clearly designed to be comforting to the child but disconcerting to the audience. 

As a horror comedy, the tone of “M3GAN” varies wildly from scene to scene, but it maintains a tone that is campy yet disturbing. The film takes full advantage of the comedic potential of its premise. 

“M3GAN” delivers some commentary about the naïvate of allowing technology to be a substitute for parenting. The movie isn’t exactly profound in its message, but these themes are relatively unexplored in the horror comedy genre. As the movie builds in tension, there are a lot of potential ways the story could end, leaving the viewer to question how ridiculous the story can get. The ending unfortunately confines itself to a more formulaic horror movie scenario, but it still delivers fun action, comedy and a conclusion to the story.

Even before the film’s release, “M3GAN” was being hailed as a queer icon for her viral style, song and dance number. After the trailer and clips of the movie gained popularity on TikTok, the studio redirected their marketing efforts toward teens. The film’s rating was even changed to PG-13 so more of that demographic could see it. While an R rating could have helped the film explore more horror elements, “M3GAN” is stronger as a comedy while remaining suspenseful throughout. 

“M3GAN” is best viewed among friends. Laughing along with everyone in the theater — sometimes uncomfortably, sometimes hysterically — is the ideal viewing experience. 

The movie’s strongest factor is that it knows what it is: a campy story about family but with a horror twist. “M3GAN” keeps the audience’s suspension of disbelief high and leaves the audience wondering just how far the iconic robot doll will go.