Horror-comedy film M3GAN is generating plenty of buzz at the box-office. Our resident film buffs Stefan Bradley and Tom Parry went to discover if it’s worth the hype.

SB: M3GAN covers a lot of bases – it’s part horror, thriller, science-fiction and black comedy.

TP: Yes, and there’s no shortage of dark satire in there. The film follows Gemma (Allison Williams), a robotic engineer who works for a toy company, as she struggles to comfort her niece, Cady (Violet McGraw) following a tragic accident. To cheer Cady up, Gemma introduces her to a Model 3 Generative Android, named “M3GAN”, to act as a friend and companion.

SB: The problem is though, M3GAN is powered by artificial intelligence, and takes her role of protecting Cady far too seriously. To get straight into it, this is a great movie. It was under two hours long…

TP: One hour and forty minutes, to be exact.

Gemma (Allison Williams) and her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) meet the AI-powered robot M3GAN.

SB: …it did exactly what it needed to do and did it well. What did you make of M3GAN, Tom?

TP: I am less enthused than you are. I’m coming at it from a slightly different perspective, because I enjoyed the film for its campiness. It excelled when it was being silly, but when it tried being scary or terrifying, it didn’t work as well. I mean, there was a tiny bit of me who thought it was somewhat frightening, but for the most part I found it to be pretty tame – I thought The Invitation (2022) was scarier than this!

SB: Scarier than The Invitation?! I have to disagree. I thought M3GAN blurred the lines between comedy and horror quite well for an M-rated film, which leads me to ask: do you believe it should have gone for an MA15+ or potentially R18+ rating to allow it to be scarier, or insert darker humour?

TP: That would require the insertion of graphic violence, and I don’t know whether the movie needs that. But certainly, it lacked the spine-tingling, goosebump-inducing, hair-standing-on-ends level of horror that a picture like Nope had, for instance. At no point was I made to feel afraid of dolls, robots or artificial intelligence, and those should all be things that easily terrify people.

SB: I found it frightening, and while it is violent, I don’t think it necessarily needed more blood during those particular scenes. Another question I have for you: If M3GAN was an episode of Black Mirror, do you believe it would fit well into that universe?

TP: I reckon so. This did seem like a feature-length chapter of that television series – or, to our older readers, like an episode of The Twilight Zone with modern touches. M3GAN makes a great premise for a TV show, but it needed something more than what they’ve presented to us in order to make it terrifying. It also needed to be shorter – it takes an eternity to become interesting.

SB: What about the acting? I thought the performances were terrific, particularly during the emotional moments. The main actress, Allison Williams, who was in Get Out

TP: She was too! I was trying to place that face, and now that you’ve said it, it’s finally clicked!

SB: Williams sold Gemma’s credentials in robotics and as an unexpected parental figure, and I thought child actress, Violet McGraw, was excellent.

TP: Well, excellent by the standards of child actors.

SB: I can’t imagine it’s easy to pull off a child suddenly inflicted by trauma in the way she did. What did you make of the performances?

TP: They were alright. Ronny Chieng was a lot of fun in his quasi-villainous role as an executive, and everybody else was reasonably convincing. It’s what you’d expect from a mid-budget Hollywood movie.

SB: To summarise, I’d recommend this film whole-heartedly. If you’re a Black Mirror fan, you’ll see familiar themes in M3GAN. The final action scene was thrilling but possibly too absurd, but that’s my only real criticism, and a minor one at that.

TP: I’d say only check M3GAN out if you’re a fan of horror movies, or Ronny Chieng.

SB: Also, definitely do not take young kids to see this one.

M3GAN is rated M for violence, sustained threat and coarse language.