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Slaying at box office, 'M3GAN' continues to get killer reviews

"M3GAN," starring Amie Donald as the murderous robot and Jenna Davis as the voice of M3GAN, proves itself as a campy, fun and thrilling hit. – Photo by @meetM3GAN / Twitter

Last October, Universal Pictures released a trailer for its new horror film "M3GAN." The movie features a story about a roboticist named Gemma (Allison Williams), who unexpectedly becomes a guardian to her niece Cady (Violet McGraw).

In an attempt to protect her niece, Gemma creates M3GAN (short for Model 3 Generative Android), an AI doll that strives to act as the perfect toy, caretaker and best friend. But alas, disaster strikes when M3GAN turns to murder in order to protect Cady, becoming a full-fledged killer doll.

Endless memes sprouted up following the trailer about this newfound internet icon. But what grabbed everyone’s attention? The scene when M3GAN dances to Taylor Swift during a moment of intense violence in the film.

"M3GAN" soon became the talk of stan Twitter and meme pages. The pure randomness and humor of the movie were enough to spark TikToks and fan edits of this dancing doll featuring various pop songs. People dressed up as her, recreated the dance and very quickly tweets about M3GAN "slaying," "being an iconic queen" and "serving" were all the rage.

At the time of the trailer release, it seemed like the general consensus was that this movie was another "dumb horror film," one that might only be worthy because of its meme status. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t one of those people at first. But I was still extremely excited to see this in theaters, mainly ironically, as I wanted to soak in all of the "it's so bad it’s good" vibes.

But when the Blumhouse Productions and Atomic Monster Productions flick was finally released in theaters on January 6, it became a box-office success. So far the film has made more than $124 million internationally on a $12 million budget and received shocking positive critical reception. In fact, a few days before its release, the critic scores were adding up on the popular site Rotten Tomatoes to pleasant reviews and a fresh score.

This surprise led to the movie taking on even more of an "internet legend" status. I can’t say I disagree with the critics because "M3GAN" was an absolute blast from start to finish.

Despite a bit of a slower start before any crazy killings or iconic lines, the script, written by Akela Cooper with additional story credit by James Wan, took time to establish the stakes.

Throughout the film, Gemma is in far too deep with her career ambitions over M3GAN. This becomes irresponsible and even unethical as Cady and M3GAN become the best of friends, and M3GAN becomes more of a guardian than Gemma. Cady gets too attached and acts out, while M3GAN begins to — in this case literally — slay.

Williams, who also serves as executive producer and is no stranger to the horror/thriller genre from her role in "Get Out," gives a solid performance. Although the standout here is of course M3GAN herself, played by Amie Donald and voiced by Jenna Davis.

Similar to the character Davis voices, she has some experience being an internet meme as the girl in the blue dress in the "penny nickel dime" video, which has been a staple of meme culture for the last few years. This coincidental instance added to even more of the film's hype and funny lore behind it.

Although mainly branded and classified as a horror movie, I would consider "M3GAN" to be more of a thriller. It’s not super gory or bloody and won’t have you looking out for jumpscares every minute which makes it a lot easier to settle into.

This film, in its essence, is a comedy. There were many moments where I had to catch my breath from laughing so hard, partly because I was finally able to see the memes come to life but also because there was a level of absurdity that was too fantastic to ignore.

This film fully embraces the element of camp: an over-exaggerated, flamboyant or theatrical-like style of storytelling. "M3GAN" knows it’s silly, but despite that, it still wants to entertain and present some themes about the power of technology when it comes to replacing important life aspects, such as friendship and parenting.

The character of M3GAN is fascinating to me. She’s hilarious while also acting as the "bestie we’ve never had." M3GAN has resonated with many people, especially female and LGBTQ+ audiences, with many calling her a "gay icon" because of her campy character traits and overall presentation. It’s become human nature to love to see a "girl boss" win and commit terrible crimes, especially if there’s humor or relatability thrown in — in addition to impeccable dance moves and fashion sense.

It’s easy to see now that M3GAN is clearly a hit and not just in an ironic sense. So much so that as of January 18, it’s been announced there will be a sequel titled "M3GAN 2.0" hitting theaters on Jan. 17, 2025, with many of the production and cast signing on.

Gerard Johnstone’s film has a solid and complete ending, but there is a slightly loose end that's teased, which leaves the opportunity for a sequel to occur. So get ready for more chaos and hopefully more dancing.

To enjoy this movie as much as I and many others did, you need to be ready to just laugh and have a good time. The movie knows not to take itself seriously and advises you to do the same. I mean, when you have a killer AI doll dancing, spitting comebacks and singing randomly throughout the film, specifically when she uses the song "Titanium" by David Guetta as a lullaby, it’s a given.

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