Making a film about a serial killer doll is not a novel idea. This has been done numerous times in various forms, most notably with Chucky in the Child’s Play series and, more recently, Annabelle in the Conjuring series. The M3GAN in this case is a prototype doll with Artificial Intelligence built in, which naturally causes it to become incredibly autonomous and ultimately dangerous as it interprets its intended purpose into unexpected and deadly consequences.
M3GAN, directed by Gerard Johnstone, comes across as a paint-by-numbers horror film rife with cliches and highly predictable outcomes. You can probably guess who gets to die and who gets to live. The M3GAN doll’s overall design is at least effectively eerie and convincing. I understand that animatronics, puppetry, computer graphics, and a real child actor, Amie Donald, were used to bring M3GAN to life. That was a clever trick that made M3GAN appear credible. However, the technology was not supported by a cohesive story or originality. M3GAN’s killer instincts, in my opinion, were not fully utilized or explored. Instead, we sit through the film predictably, with no real surprises or interesting characters with whom we can identify or sympathize. M3GAN isn’t particularly violent for a serial killer film, so don’t expect any torture porn level of violence. This is most likely due to the filmmakers’ desire to avoid the R rating in favor of PG-13. Personally, I believe the film’s target audience is misidentified. By keeping it PG-13 and making M3GAN look like a decent version of a Barbie doll, the film may have attracted the attention of an unassuming younger audience who would not necessarily enjoy or sit through all the violence.
Finally, I cannot recommend M3GAN because I believe it adds nothing new to the genre, fails to satisfy the bloodthirsty side of a slasher horror movie fan, and lacks a compelling story or set of characters worth spending time with. You can give this one a miss.