M3GAN

M3GAN ★★★½

Watched the Unrated version.

Directed by Gerard Johnstone who's responsible for one of my favorite horror/comedies in 2014 called "Housebound".
And sure, "M3GAN" opens with a Paul Verhoeven-style satirical commercial which already put me in the right mindset and tone to enjoy this piece of intentional camp. This wasn't the only nod to Verhoeven as there're many winks to Robocop, including an over-the-top evil toy store company CEO. Ah, capitalism presented as the shit stain of society.

Violet McGraw as Cady, a little 6-year old, loses both parents in a car accident and is put under the care of her aunt who's a robotics inventor at a major toy company. The aunt Gemma, played by Allison Williams, is meeting some killer deadlines as a follow-up to their shitting Furbies and doesn't have time to cope with parental duties, so she does the most sensical thing as a robotics engineer: finish an artificial intelligent lifesize doll called M3GAN and turn her into a nanny. Which 6-year old wouldn't get totally entranced by a toy friend who breaks out into songs like a Disney princess version of GLaDOS (Portal videogame)? Of course, things go quite south.

It's an uninsultingly entertaining black horror/ comedy the 90's practically specialized in. The effects were pretty good with uncanny animatronics and facial CGI you don't notice when complex movements were performed by a child actrice. It's the balance of pratical and CGI I love.

A weak link in the film was child actress Violet McGraw who seemed mostly unphased by the traumatic events of losing her parents. Ranging between emotionless and temper tantrum without any nuance. Luckily, Allison Williams and M3GAN totally made up for it.

As for the unrated aspects, it's not a gorefest with the added blood and impact being rather fleeting with quick blink-and-you-miss-it moments, but it's at least more than the off screen kills of the PG-13 version.
The PG-13 version however is a great gateway horror flick for younger teens. The black comedy aspects could have used some more over-the-top kills, but that would have made the film less commercially viable with an R-rating.
As the movie is a financial success at the box office, they made the right move even if the movie suffered somewhat creatively.

The creators were definitely in on the joke, so don't take this too seriously, lower your guard and allow yourself to be entertained. The kids absolutely love it and I know my daughter will as soon as she reaches the right age!

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