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REVIEW: There’s a new creepy, horror doll in theaters with ‘M3GAN’

Sean I. Mills
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 1/15/23

January remains a weird time of the year to put out a new horror movie. But for those who enjoy a spooky time at the theater, “M3GAN” lives up to all its creepy doll energy.

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REVIEW: There’s a new creepy, horror doll in theaters with ‘M3GAN’

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January remains a weird time of the year to put out a new horror movie. But for those who enjoy a spooky time at the theater, “M3GAN” lives up to all its creepy doll energy.

Scary doll movies are a dime a dozen in the horror genre, so it’s fortunate that “M3GAN” does find some new avenues to explore. By combining prosthetics with real human actors, this film creates a more unsettling atmosphere than your average baby doll bogeyman. And “M3GAN” also finds the time to explore some interesting themes, like grief and our over-reliance on technology, especially with children.

If you limit your screen time, watching “M3GAN” on the big screen is a good use of those hours.

When Cady’s parents are killed in a motor vehicle accident, she’s taken in by her aunt Gemma, who works at a toy company designing interactive robot toys. To help Cady cope with her grief, Gemma builds the M3GAN robot, a lifelike, interactive doll that begins to take its job of protecting Cady a little too seriously.

“M3GAN” is a solid, enjoyable horror movie that delivers on the creepiness of an evil doll, without getting too out of control with the gore or blood. It’s only rated PG-13, so its doll-on-human violence doesn’t get gruesome. But the movie still works because it is well made, with a focus on just how creepy and dangerous the villain is, especially psychologically.

The doll, M3GAN, is a combination of animatronics, puppetry, CGI and an actual actor in costume, and the character is the whole package. She looks just real enough to be extra freaky, and then she becomes truly diabolical once the movie really gets going. She definitely works as a horror villain.

The movie then outdoes itself by adding some extra depth to its story. There’s a real exploration of grief after Cady loses her parents, as well as an exploration of how we sometimes use technology as a crutch for our heavy feelings. Gemma, the aunt, is unprepared to be a sudden parent, so she foists Cady onto this new M3GAN doll. And there are discussions between characters on whether or not that’s healthy and how children getting attached to technology can be dangerous.

These are interesting themes to explore, especially for a movie that’s supposed to be all about the violence and the horror elements. And that’s what makes “M3GAN” better than your run-of-the-mill horror film. This movie actually has something to say.

“M3GAN” is the real deal when it comes to horror movies. It works as a scary film about a killer doll, and then it works as a real movie with actual themes and issues for its characters to tackle. It seems 2023 is starting off right.

“M3GAN” is only playing in theaters and is not yet available on streaming.

For more discussion of the film, tune in to the Sentinel Cinema podcast at www.RomeSentinel.com/podcasts.

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