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28th October 2022

M3GAN primer: Horror’s newest nightmare?

Is James Wan’s upcoming horror film M3GAN set to be a blockbuster hit or is it just too weird? We give our thoughts on the trailer
M3GAN primer: Horror’s newest nightmare?
Photo: Andy Kelly @ Unsplash

If you were to list some of the most well-known horror movies and scary films out there, you would probably include the Chucky franchise, Annabelle (2014), The Terminator series, and Ex Machina (2014) somewhere in there. Are they the scariest? The most gruesome? The best? For a lot of people probably not, but the point is horror movies about dolls, technology, and AI are far from revolutionary.

The main principle of them being twisting things that are usually fun or useful into some of our biggest nightmares is an easy way to come up with the plot for a horror movie. However, James Wan’s latest scary movie M3GAN does not take something benevolent and turn it into an evil but rather takes something already creepy and makes it even more horrifying!

M3GAN is a science-fiction horror film set to come out in January 2023 that is about a young girl, Cady, who loses her parents in a car accident and is subsequently taken care of by her aunt and her aunt’s technological creation: a lifelike doll that uses artificial intelligence (M3GAN). I’m not sure how anyone would view this as anything other than frightening to begin with, but even the other roboticists’ main concerns only seem to revolve around Cady and M3GAN’s emotional attachment to each other.

They spend almost all of their time playing together, with M3GAN looking after Cady. Of course, things turn south quickly as M3GAN’s instructions to not let any “harm” come to Cady soon leads to the android becoming a murderous monster that runs on all fours, wields a guillotine blade, and kills another child.

As if things weren’t weird enough already, there are two scenes in the trailer alone where M3GAN is shown to be dancing presumably immediately after or before killing people. These clips have since been turned into memes with one even being retweeted by Megan Thee Stallion who said, “I will be THEE FIRST in line to see M3GAN”. WIRED magazine argues that this kind of publicity is what marketing departments “dream of” – I suppose it’s similar to the proverb that any publicity is good publicity!

They say that the memes “speak to people’s willingness to make the culture they want to see” such as those expressing frustration at Beyonce’s new album Renaissance not featuring music videos alongside it. The viral video has also lead to TikTok dance recreations, references to the doll being a contestant on Drag Race, and Halloween costume inspiration. Whatever happens in January, there little doubt that it will be a highly anticipated film.

I can’t honestly say if I’ll watch M3GAN when it comes out – I’m not sure if it’s almost too obscene to see, or if I’m intrigued enough to go and watch it. I’m certainly interested in the reception of the movie so will be checking Letterboxd and Rotten Tomatoes regularly once it’s released!


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