M3GAN

An orphan is given a killer AI doll in M3GHAN, AKA Bride of Prince Chucky.

Heavily hyped as the new Chucky, M3GHAN is more meme than movie. Like last year’s Smile it delivered an aggressive marketing campaign where they forgot the actual product. It is but a tile on Netflix, a post-it note with “girl Chucky” scrawled in biro, a project so derivative even its protagonist (Get Out‘s Allison Williams) resembles a cross between Keira Knightley and Jennifer Carpenter.

Williams plays Gemma, a toymaker who owns zero toys but has been working on an AI called M3GHAN, which stands for Model 3 Generative Android (no mention of where the H comes from). Upon taking custody of her niece (Violet McGraw), Gemma gives her the toy that proves as unfinished as the film she’s in.

We then wait an interminatorbly long time for the doll to go on a killing spree that never materialises, possibly because the violence was cut to secure a PG-13 rating, begging the question of who this is for. It has neither horror nor camp, diluting its Chucky cheese with child therapy scenes and lectures about screen time.

Further questions around why anyone would create a toy capable of killing but not singing in key (or why nobody thinks to dismantle the damn thing) could be dismissed if the movie succeeded in its one job of making a scary doll. But in an industry that has given us Furbys, Cabbage Patch Kids, J. K. Rowling Barbie and that animatronic aberration in The 6th Day, M3GHAN barely registers. She doesn’t even have any Chucky-style one-liners, turning the Turing test into an endurance test.

The killer dull continues producer James Wan’s transition from haunted house hack to B-movie merchant, but fails to deliver the schlock of Malignant or Aquaman. Ultimately M3GHAN does such a bad job of imparting its anti-screen time message that you immediately have to use your phone to look up what film you just saw.

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