Warning: This review contains spoilers for “M3GAN.” 

c/o Universal Pictures

c/o Universal Pictures

Model 3 Generative Android, or M3GAN, is a toy like no other. After both of nine-year-old Cady’s (Violet McGraw) parents die in a car accident, she is left in the custody of her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams), a toy engineer who knows how to design new gadgets for kids but has no idea how to raise one. In her desperation to help Cady process the trauma of her parents’ death, Gemma offers Cady a prototype of a project she is working on: M3GAN (voiced by Amie Donald and played by Jenna Davis). M3GAN is a life-sized robot whose artificial intelligence is programmed to become Cady’s caretaker and best friend. Suddenly, Cady is the happiest she has ever been, and the neighbors are mysteriously winding up dead.

Though the M3GAN doll’s release was canceled due to her murderous tendencies, the movie’s release proved to be a spectacular success. The film grossed $30.4 million during its opening weekend (compared to its $12 million budget), approximately $13 million more than originally estimated by Blumhouse-Universal. Since then, the movie has grossed a worldwide total of $158.6 million, as well as received an impressive 94% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. Without a doubt, it is safe to say that “M3GAN” took the world by storm. 

The premise of “M3GAN” (in a nutshell, an evil doll kills people) is similar to several other horror franchises such as “Chucky,” “Annabelle,” and “The Boy.” However, M3GAN’s incredible success has shown that she isn’t like other girls. She’s more than a mindlessly murderous doll; she’s an icon for several reasons, starting with the movie’s effective marketing strategies.  

Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, it’s likely that you’ve seen M3GAN dancing on TikTok or Twitter. When the first trailer was released, a clip from it went viral, showing M3GAN shaking her hips, circling her arms in an inhuman yet mesmerizing way, doing an aerial, and posing for the camera before she rips the blade off a paper cutter to use as a weapon. When I saw her doing the dance on my Twitter timeline, I knew the movie was going to be good. 

Despite my expectations being through the roof, “M3GAN” somehow managed to exceed all of them. I knew going into the movie that I probably wouldn’t find it that scary because the concept has been done before, and I’m not scared of things that are small enough to punt (i.e. child-sized dolls). However, the beauty of “M3GAN” lies not in its horror, but in its comedy. There is no reason for M3GAN to dance before she kills someone, but she does it anyway—because she feels like it. She’s a performer, and there’s nothing more entertaining than a serial killer with flair. 

Beyond dancing, M3GAN slays every second she is on screen, whether figuratively or literally. After a boy named Brandon (Jack Cassidy) bullies Cady, M3GAN follows them into the woods, pulls off a chunk of Brandon’s ear, and tells him, “This is the part where you run.” She then gets on all fours and chases him like a dog before pushing him into oncoming traffic. Her bodily movements in this scene are both deeply unsettling and hilarious. Humans don’t typically gallop, so when M3GAN does, it is like watching a wasted white boy at WesRave. Terrifying, yet I couldn’t look away.

Even M3GAN’s most gruesome moments are juxtaposed with heartwarming scenes between her and Cady. For example, when Cady is trying to process Brandon’s death by asking M3GAN questions about it, the doll responds by singing a soothing lullaby: Titanium by David Guetta. If M3GAN gets tired of murdering people, she should audition for the Barden Bellas. I might have found this scene more touching if I wasn’t rolling over in my seat laughing at the song choice. 

I would be remiss to do a review of “M3GAN” without mentioning her status as a queer icon. The week the movie came out, my Twitter timeline was flooded with Tweets about how “M3GAN” is for the girls, gays, and theys.

“Me trying to watch m3gan in theaters surrounded by twinks filming themselves shouting ‘mother’ at the screen,” Twitter user @mrunitedface wrote, accompanied by a picture of someone on the verge of tears. 

“I just saw M3GAN,” Twitter user @JazzCochina wrote, accompanied by a video of Lady Gaga saying, “I don’t believe in the glorification of murder, but I do believe in the empowerment of women.”

“The way her wig looks like shit so it’ll be easier for gay people to do bad drag on Halloween…they thought of everything,” Twitter user @smhrbst wrote.

In response to the widespread adoration for this killer robot among the queer community, screenwriter Akela Cooper proposed an explanation.

“I actually asked one of my friends who is a gay man about that and he was saying this set-up is actually found family, where this little girl has lost her family, and she has to go live with her aunt,” Cooper said. “Then this doll is also brought into the situation. That resonates for a lot of people in the gay community, the idea of found family.”

However, many were quick to point out that there was no deeper explanation than that most (including me) were simply excited to see M3GAN sing, dance, and murder. 

“I thought we liked her bc she serves cunt,” Twitter user @mattxiv wrote. 

Kat Struhar can be reached at kstruhar@wesleyan.edu.

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