Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

Hollywood gave horror fans Chucky with ‘Child’s Play’ and an inspired Bollywood came up with ‘Paapi Gudiya’. Ever since, filmmakers keep trying their hand at the ‘ghost doll’ genre, Annabelle being the most famous 21st century addition and now there’s ‘M3GAN’ – who is far scarier because you cannot exorcise a rogue robot with holy water and Latin chants. Lol.

Directed by Gerard Johnstone, the 2022 Techno-horror flick has been written by James Wan (story) and Akela Cooper (screenplay) and follows the (mis)adventures of a life-size robotic doll that’s meant to be an empathetic child companion. Allison Williams of ‘Get Out’ fame plays Gemma, a robotics engineer at a toy’s company builds M3GAN after she becomes the primary caregiver of her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) who loses her parents in a car accident. Neither of them is prepared for the doll’s evil evolution.

This film is creepy right off the bat – a 90s style ad peddles an ugly Furby-like doll branded ‘Purpetual Petz’. An immortal electronic pet that’s controlled by an app. Gemma works for the same firm and thinks her creation M3GAN is going to a gamechanger in the toy industry. Violet McGraw isn’t new to the horror genre, she poignantly portrayed a young Nell Crane in ‘Haunting of Hill House’ (watch if you haven’t) and pulls off the grieving Cady who gets too attached with her fancy new talking robot doll.

While I don’t think the makers were trying to make a modern fable about ‘perils of easy parenting’, it does become an interesting ‘think piece’ on how excessive reliability on technology to distract or take care of children can have damaging behavioural effects. Allison’s Gemma is a young ambitious innovator who wasn’t expecting to be strapped with the responsibility of her sister’s child, so she delegates the task to a robot instead. Easy parenting 101.

M3GAN is played by 12-year-old actor Amie Donald, although there’s also animation involved in bringing the artificially intelligent doll to life for the big screen. The VFX department makes the robot look legit and some of her spooky moves are inspired by horror films, you know those sequences where a possessed person will move like they don’t have bones in their bodies? That kind.

Overall, the film has a solid first-half, but the script gets a little messy towards the climax, ending in a but of a cliched fight. It’s like Chucky from ‘Child’s Play’ meets a chatty version of ‘The Terminator’. I was entertained!

It’s a 7 on 10 from me.

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