M3gan comes home on Blu-ray this week in a bloodier Unrated Edition of this year’s first big horror hit at the box office, introducing a new icon to join the pantheon of killer dolls, alongside Hall of Famers like Talky Tiny, Chucky, and Annabelle, but also a decidedly modern heir to throne of deadly robots, with the strength of The Terminator and the intelligence of Westworld’s hosts.
A viral hit on TikTok even before opening in theaters, thanks largely to the title character’s uniquely un-robotic dance scenes performed by Amie Donald (watch our interview here), M3gan is essentially an old school slasher set amid the real life technology of today, with plenty of social commentary on and warnings around the ongoing advent of legitimate AI embedded within its primary functions.
After her parents are brutally killed in a horrible accident, Cady, played by Violet McGraw, is sent to live with her aunt Gemma, played by Allison Williams, who happens to be on the brink of unleashing a new product designed to be a child’s best friend onto the world in the form of “M3GAN”. Williams and McGraw really carry the movie with equally outstanding performances, and the evolution of their relationship is at the heart of the story.
With her back against the wall at work and her asshole boss (played by Ronny Chieng) about to shut down her dream project, Gemma brings the state of the art robot doll home and encourages it to bond with Cady, giving her a new BFF to die for.
The character of M3gan was brought to life by using Donald’s amazing performance for the long shots and any significant body movements, while an actual life size animatronic puppet was used for closeups and other scenes, and all that practical realness gives M3gan her unique style, as the playful voice by Jenna Davis is the final ingredient, providing just the right amount of mock innocence with increasingly sharp attitude.
I found what could have easily been a generic discount store ripoff of well worn tropes to be surprisingly refreshing in its abashed embracing of its various ripped-from-the-headlines themes, and it is a totally entertaining, albeit predictable, ride, as the killings commence.
The Unrated cut of the film is almost identical to the theatrical except for a few choice extra seconds of blood and gore in those kill sequences, and a couple additional f-bombs in the dialogue, but it is definitely better for it and delivers an extra punch for anyone bummed by the movie’s PG-13 rating.
The Unrated Edition on Blu-ray also includes the theatrical version of the film, as well as a DVD and Digital code including both versions. It comes in a slipcase with cover art matching that of the disc case, and back art only varying slightly to add a larger of image of M3gan during her office hallway attack.
There are also three behind the scenes featurettes included in the bonus content:
- A New Vision of Horror has a runtime of just under six minutes and features the filmmakers and cast breaking down how the world of M3GAN was created, including the initial idea, through production under the leadership of director Gerard Johnstone and producers James Wan and Jason Blum.
- Bringing Life to M3GAN has a runtime of a little over five minutes and goes a great job of exploring exactly how animatronics, puppets, and actor/dancer Amie Donald all worked together to make the character M3GAN as real as possible.
- Getting Hacked has a runtime of almost four minutes and provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the cast and crew accomplished some of the film’s more complex stunts and gory deaths.
With a sequel already announced, bring home M3GAN version 1 now to meet your new friend until the end.
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