M3GAN ★★★★

"Holy shit, this is exciting! I want you all to remember this moment... the moment we kick Hasbro right in the dick."

Easily accomplishes what the Child's Play reboot tried to do and with a “lower” rating. Incredible. However, I suspect that has more to do with Child's Play (2019) sucking ass and almost anything with similar concepts would be better than it. Ironically, after seeing M3GAN, I’d be totally down for a crossover between her and any incarnation of Chucky.

On its own, though, M3GAN succeeds at being the evil robot doll schlock it aimed to be. Never is it too serious and never is it too silly; it rides the line of camp beautifully and really only falters with respect to the kills and violence. The slightly tame rating of PG-13 may have done wonders for the film’s overall reach, but it’s also the only thing that holds M3GAN back from her true potential as a modern slasher icon. Screenwriter Akela Cooper revealed this notion isn’t lost on her when speaking with the L.A.Times:

“No shade to Universal, love them, and I understand that once the trailer went viral, teenagers got involved and you want them to be able to see it. There should be an unrated version at some point… it was [written to be] way gorier. Her body count in the script was higher than in the movie.“

But hey, why be a blood-soaked slasher icon when you can be a viral dancing TikTok icon instead? I joke, but at least we have confirmation that a gore cut exists and could eventually see the light of day.

One thing that I find interesting, though, is that Cooper also wrote Malignant— a film I so infamously bashed upon finally seeing it after audiences were seemingly loving it so much. One of my biggest gripes with that film is— despite critics somehow claiming it contained it— the film was void of any camp, cheese, or tongue-in-cheek, farcical comedic horror of any kind. James Wan directed it in such a serious manner that the only camp in the film was the absurdity of the concept, which I guess was enough for some people to find humorous schlock in. Having now seen both films, I fully attribute this lapse in judgment to Wan and Wan alone. He may be able to direct comedic action quips well in films like Furious 7 or Aquaman, but his talents are best suited for more serious tones. This is why I think having someone with comedy and comedic horror backgrounds like Gerard Johnstone direct M3GAN was a smart move.

Additionally, the film didn’t feel too teeny-bopper Blumhouse— something I was terrified it would be as many Blumhouse films as of late have been dishing out lazy Gen-Z cash grabs. In fact, none of it felt lazy or cringe (even the dance or Ronny Chieng in a somewhat dramatic role). It’s one of those movies you gotta just take it for what it is and as a silly PG-13 Black Mirror-esque episode, I had a fun time.

P.S. The Sia jump scare had to be the funniest shit I’ve seen so far this year.

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