M3gan

     

            We’re always up for a Blumhouse movie. Jason Blum created Blumhouse Productions in 2000 and quickly established a reputation for a particular flavor of horror films. If you’re not sure if you’ve seen any, they include The Purge, Split, Get Out, Us, The Invisible Man and The Black Phone.

            Get Out was a sleeper that debuted as a streaming offering, then went on to win an Academy Award for best screenplay and gross $255 million worldwide. Shot in 23 days, it was Jordan Peele’s breakout success as writer and director with an edgy social commentary in a horror wrapper.

            So, that’s a tough act to follow. We’d credit beginner’s luck, but at the end of the day, it was just good entertainment with a creative concept and great scripting. According to Jason Blum, it is the quintessential Blumhouse film: low budget, high on entertainment and social commentary, all in the hands of a director no one believed in.

            And I’d say they’ve done it again.

            Blumhouse pictures tend to be steeped in gore, but not as gratuitously as, let’s say, Saw. So you’ll find yourself squirming a bit and on the edge of your seat, but remember, you’re there by choice. Each Blumhouse film feels unique. They haven’t resorted to the formulaic feel of teen slasher films. You get something new with each offering.

            As with many trends in filmmaking, our fear of new or unfamiliar technological breakthroughs often give birth to new genres in the SciFi category. If you watch the news at all, you’ve been hearing a lot about Artificial Intelligence or AI. Recently, ChatGPT has dominated headlines with stories of cloned voices, computers that write sermons and college papers, and WHO KNOWS WHAT’S NEXT. Clearly the robots are about to take over. This is nothing new if you’re a fan of the Battlestar Galactica reboot. The scariest robot of all is the one you can’t tell is a robot, right?

            Well, we can certainly tell that the newly created children’s toy named M3gan is a robot. She retains enough jerky movements and dilating camera eyes to ensure us that nothing could possibly go wrong. But of course, M3gan is a learning AI, and that’s when her role as protector of her paired child owner, Cady, becomes problematic.

            Longtime fans of robot science fiction recall Issac Asimov’s brilliant laws of robotics. They are: 1) a robot shall not harm a human, or by inaction allow a human to come to harm. 2) a robot shall obey any instruction given to it by a human, and 3) a robot shall avoid actions or situations that could cause it to come to harm itself.

            Well, scrap that. M3gan didn’t go to that school. With knowledge comes power, and M3gan has plenty of both. (Note: some reshooting was required to reduce this film’s rating to PG-13.)

            M3gan has a creepy resemblance to actress Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of the famous Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley. Her movements often appear human, thanks to her costume wearing human actress, twelve-year old Amie Donald.

            Eventually, M3gan goes on a rampage. How do you stop something that can outsmart and out muscle you? I guess you’ll have to see M3gan before someone tells you!

 

M3gan (2022) runs one hour 42 minutes and is rated PG-13.


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