February 3, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Sophia Lisco

It’s only a matter of time before technology entirely takes over the world, inevitably rendering human activities obsolete. The rise of malevolent technology has been chronicled and dramatized by filmmakers for decades, be it Hal the supercomputer, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator,” the uncanny android of “Ex Machina,” or even so far as the circular autopilot who battles Wall-E.

Though depressing, the idea of a technological Armageddon undoubtedly makes for some great cinema. In today’s cinema, the evil robot captivating screens is called M3GAN (or the Model 3 Generative Android), and she looks just like everyone else.

From director Gerard Johnstone, “M3GAN” is the story of a girl’s best friend. After Cady (played by Violet McGraw) is tragically orphaned, her aunt Gemma (played by Alison Williams, known for her role as the terrifying girlfriend from “Get Out”) invents a robotic playmate for her in hopes of being absolved of any maternal responsibilities.

At first, M3GAN is perfect— reminding Cady to wash her hands and use a drink coaster, even helping her come to terms with her parents’ untimely demise. To ensure Cady is given the best care possible, M3GAN was given one objective: protect her user from all harm. What could go wrong?

But then, as her heavily anticipated commercial release grows closer, the neighbor’s violent dog mysteriously goes missing. Soon after, Cady’s bully falls victim to a tragically un-accidental vehicle-related accident. At one point, viewers wonder— is that a chainsaw coming from the shed? Soon, M3GAN proves herself to be a killer nanny who has been mistakenly endowed with bionic abilities— including, but not limited to, remarkable grip strength, “eyes” that assess human moods using micro expressions, and an insatiable taste for the blood of her enemies. 

Despite the insidious undertones and deeply unsettling imagery, “M3GAN” is laugh-out-loud funny. I don’t know if it is her pithy one-liners or her “naughty au pair” aesthetic, but M3GAN is the villain that we all love to hate. When she starts to serenade her owner with the tantalizing melody that is the 2014 hit, “Titanium” ft. Sia, the robot solidified herself as a camp horror icon (and yes, the cover is on Spotify).

M3GAN’s off-putting yet on-beat dance moves and musical ability were practically engineered for TikTok fame, which explains why she has become a pop culture sensation. She occupied a corner of TikTok during her marketing campaign and was allotted three minutes of promotional airtime on NBC thanks to a “Saturday Night Live” skit. The “glam-droid” also inspired a few fabulous drag costumes, garnering a significant fanbase in the queer community.

Twitter users have been quick to draw comparisons to “Chucky,” pitting the two together in an ultimate killer toy showdown; Although, in my opinion, “Child’s Play” fans are fighting a losing battle (a titanium skeleton trumps a three-inch dagger any day).

As a January release, “M3GAN” has set the stage for the horror movies of 2023. Though the film doesn’t do anything completely new, “M3GAN” borders on satire without watering itself down, an impressive feat today. Somehow, this classic tale of the experiment-gone-wrong doesn’t feel tired, and we have its level of self-awareness woven throughout the film to thank.

“M3GAN” is totally ludicrous, and the filmmakers are in on the joke. M3GAN’s outfit, voice, demeanor, and bloody battle scenes are to die for, and I’d dare say “M3GAN” is an instant classic. M3GAN is everything Annabelle wishes she was— she is fierce, she is trendy, she is your best friend, and she literally slays.

See “M3GAN” in theaters now.

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