Original title:M3GAN
Director:Gerard Johnstone
Running time:102 minutes
Release date:06 january 2023
M3GAN is a technological miracle, a cyber doll whose artificial intelligence is programmed to be a child's ideal companion and a parent's most trusted ally. Designed by Gemma, the brilliant roboticist of a toy company, M3GAN can listen, observe and learn while becoming both friend and teacher, playmate and protector of the child to whom she is bonded. When Gemma suddenly becomes responsible for her 8-year-old niece, Cady, whose parents have suddenly passed away, she is completely unprepared for her role. Overwhelmed and under pressure at work, she decides to link her M3GAN prototype to the little girl, in a desperate attempt to solve her problems on both fronts. A decision that will lead to terrible consequences.

Mulder's Review

 "Advances in science and artificial intelligence are fascinating aspects to play with, as they are symptomatic of the society we live in. We are so dependent on these technologies on so many levels that the very idea of them turning against us is inherently anxiety-provoking. That's exactly what we're playing with in M3GAN" - James Wan

The screenwriter Akela Cooper is certainly a gifted screenwriter as evidenced by the films Hell fest (2018 and Malignant (2021) so much she knows how to play with the rules of genre films to direct them to new territories of experimentation. M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android) is sold as a horrific thriller; however, this film is not only that. It is above all a science-fiction film of a formidable efficiency which does not lack humor to propose us an android which has nothing to envy to Chucky, Terminator and Robocop so much this creature of friendly appearance reveals itself to be a real killing machine for all those who put themselves on its way.

M3GAN has the appearance of an adorable living android and is also a marvel of artificial intelligence pushed to its limits. Able to think for herself and to learn through the different possible sources of information (especially the internet) to develop her skills, M3GAN turns out to be the creature that all geeks dream of having in their collection. Its creator Gemma (Allison Williams, from Get Out) is a brilliant roboticist from the toy company Funki (a name reminiscent of Funko) who lives only for her work and who seems to have put her private life on hold (to the point of having registered on Tinder). 

By a stroke of bad luck following her sister and husband's fatal snow accident, Gemma is forced to babysit their daughter Cady (Violet McGraw) and learn how to raise a young child, which is completely new to her. While her prototype M3GAN had ended in a first failure, she decides to redevelop it and to create a new version of M3GAN which has the appearance of a young girl but which is actually an android with a revolutionary artifficial intelligence.  Gemma decides to pair her new prototype with Cady in an attempt to help her overcome her grief and get back on her feet. Unfortunately, things don't turn out as planned as Funki saw in M3GAN the future and its development.

Writer Akela Cooper is a true film buff and sprinkles her story with many references to the Terminator, Chucky, Esther (Orphan), Frankenstein and other films. Director Gerard Johnstone manages to transcribe to the image for his second film (after the equally excellent Housebound (2014)) all the strength of this inspired writing. By putting at the center of the story the progress of the science of robotics M3GAN succeeds in bringing a new breath to the genre and to propose a story taking without any false note and carrying a great care on the psychology of the characters. While the recent horrific cinema, which is a genre that Blumhouse Productions masters perfectly, tends to propose shocking scenes with numerous special effects and permanent violence, M3GAN prefers to turn to a futuristic tale by opposing an artificial creature to its creator. 

The fight between man and machine is a theme taken up in many films but here it is oriented towards new perspectives by putting in the center of the story a company of high tech toys loved by children. The film does not hesitate to criticize the abusive use of new technologies in our daily life and the fact that many parents seem to be lost at times to instill in their children fundamental principles. M3GAN does not lack strong and violent scenes but its plot is rather oriented towards the fundamental question of the future of the man facing an artificial intelligence which will exceed one day that of the man. We can also appreciate the humor present in the film, especially with the fake advertisements promoting toys capable of farting for the greatest pleasure of children. 

While most of the recent horrific thrillers disappoint us as they seem to be a simple transfer and play on the rules of the genre, M3GAN succeeds in surprising us and testifies to the undeniable gift of the director Gerard Johnstone to take advantage of a limited budget and to create anthological scenes like the one in the forest or the one of the final fight. The meticulousness of the scenario will bring a real pleasure to the moviegoers who will see here a mastered and intelligent film which simply exceeds the framework of the basic horror thriller to surf on a high tech aspect perfectly in phase with our current society.

Directed by Gerard Johnstone
Screenplay by Akela Cooper
Story by Akela Cooper, James Wan
Produced by Jason Blum, James Wan
Starring Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps, Lori Dungey, Stephane Garneau-Monten
Cinematography : Peter McCaffrey, Simon Raby
Music by : John Murphy
Production companies : Blumhouse Productions, Divide/Conquer, Atomic Monster Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates December 7, 2022 (Los Angeles), December 28, 2022 France), January 6, 2023 (United States)
Running time : 102 minutes

Seen on December 28, 2022 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 4 seat A19

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