By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Wait a minute. I thought January was supposed to be the "movie dump month" when studios trot out some of their smaller, mediocre films that have been shelved.
Yet, the creepy, sci-fi/horror movie "M3GAN"
from director Gerard Johnstone
(TV's "Terry Teo") doesn't fit that bill. It's one of the biggest surprises to kick off the New Year thanks to screenwriters James Wan
("Conjuring" films) and Akela Cooper ("Malignant").
In "M3GAN," short for Model 3 Generative Android, Allison Williams
("Get Out" and TV's "A Series of Unfortunate Events") plays Gemma, a robotics expert and employee of Funki, a huge toy company that prides itself on innovative kids’ toys.
Gemma has been toiling away at all sorts of creative endeavors, like making a gigantic robot that has all sorts of capabilities, but it's still a work in progress. She's also tried to convince her high strung and money-grubbing boss David (a funny Ronny Chieng, "Crazy Rich Asians") that her nearly completed project which cost $100,000 will rival any toy on the market.
Just when it seems that Gemma is close to wrapping up things, her life suddenly changes. She is forced to take in her 9-year-old niece Cady (a terrific Violet McGraw, "Ready Player One") whose parents were killed in a car crash.
Gemma is so focused on debuting her project that she has little time to grieve over the loss of her sister. She also isn't paying much attention to Cady either and really needs to step up her parenting skills.
Yet, when Gemma shows Cady the new toy she's created, M3GAN, a 4-foot-tall silicone-covered Artificial Intelligence doll, which is so lifelike and expressive--she does way more than cuddle and coo--Cady falls in love with it. She now seems to have found something that makes her happy. M3GAN reads, draws, and plays games with Cady.
They become inseparable. Gemma now has a bit of the parenting burden lifted off of her because M3GAN can also do things like remind Cady to flush the toilet and wash her hands.
Lurking beneath all that skin and metal, lies something a bit darker and more sinister that Gemma and her colleague Tess (Jen Van Epps, "Don't Make Me Go") and Cole (Brian Jordan Alverez, TV's "Will & Grace") didn't consider during all their coding and configurations of M3GAN.
When a neighbor's vicious dog attacks M3GAN, and a bully tries to get the best of Cady during a camp outing, this doll's evil and killer instincts take hold and soon Gemma realizes she's created a monster that she can't control anymore with the click of a remote.
Clearly, screenwriter/producer James Wan has a thing for demonic dolls as we've seen with Annabelle and now M3GAN. We can only hope that this exciting romp will spawn more "M3GAN" mischief. I mean after this, who wouldn't love to see M3GAN--(movements/Amy Donald, TV's “Sweet Tooth” and voiced by Jenna Davis, TV's "Raven's Home" )--maybe meet up with Chucky one day.
The possibilities/storylines seem endless. In the meantime, "M3GAN" dishes up a ton of fun and is a welcome and refreshing change of pace.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 5:17 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "M3GAN"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.