LifeIsXbox’s M3GAN UNRATED Review | For a film that was released in 2022, M3GAN sure is coming back in a big way. Fresh off of the cutting room floor we have the new and improved M3GAN UNRATED edition which has started streaming on Amazon Prime after previously only being available on Peacock in the US territories. M3GAN UNRATED is essentially a more gruesome cut of the original, but don’t be fooled by the title. It is still very much rated for mature audiences, and in European countries, that means 18+.
M3GAN or Model 3 Generation Android is played by Amie Donald, a rather talented actress from New Zealand who helps bring M3GAN to life via some clever camera trickery and a fully synthetic body suit. The film also stars Gemma Williams as the adoptive auntie and Violet McGraw as Cady who share the spotlight for the leading role.
M3GAN UNRATED is directed by Gerard Johnstone and Distributed by Universal Pictures.
What We Liked!
- The Story | Right from the start it appears M3GAN is going in a different direction. It uses a comical approach to its opening that features a toy from the manufacturer Funki. It’s silly but helps set up the exposition and backstory for later events. The film quickly takes a dark turn in which Cady loses both of her parents in a car accident. Cady is quickly adopted by her aunt who works for the aforementioned toy factory and is secretly working on a new prototype toy that helps children cope with grief. This is where M3GAN comes in. Through her niece, she is able to get M3GAN to learn, develop, and protect by using a set of protocols that were installed during her development. Except, as we have learned with some AI in real life, this gets taken rather too literally, and as you can imagine, carnage ensues. M3GAN and Cady become worryingly attached to each other, and M3GAN starts acting too protective of her, resulting in the gruesome deaths of anyone, and anything that gets in the way of their relationship.
- The Acting | M3GAN has some decent acting. It always amazes me how these children in (any) movie do so well. Where do they learn this at such a young age? Regardless, M3GAN and its cast have great chemistry, and they have done a great job at pairing family members. The awkward chemistry initially between auntie and niece makes you feel sad for Cady and her loss initially, and joy when they overcome their problems. They do a great job at making you connect with them. Be it Gemma struggling at work, the grief of Cady, and the hardships of Gemma’s co-workers following her every word even if it means landing them in trouble. Everything fits well and is cohesive, making you believe the world that they inhabit is real.
- Practical Effects | What really makes M3GAN stand out here is its use of practical effects. I’ve personally always been a fan of the use of practical effects vs special effects. You only have to look at the original Alien film compared to Alien 3 to understand how bad of a choice it was to move to CGI. What we have here is two actors playing M3GAN, one for physical acting, and the other for voice. As mentioned in the opening we have Amie Donald who plays the physical side of M3GAN, who does a fantastic job at doing robotic movements and dancing and brings a general creepiness to her presence on screen. Amie is covered in silicone skin that gives her the robotic look. Seeing something of that size on screen combined with the look and movements really sells the overall look of the android. Jenna Davis voices M3GAN and does a great job at making herself sound like an at-home assistant, but then also dialing into her annoyed robotic voice. It’s also worth mentioning that the other half of the practical effects were through the use of puppetry.
- The Deaths | It just wouldn’t be a horror movie without a few deaths right? Comparing M3GAN UNRATED to the theatrical cut, the gore has been turned up to 11, hence the new age rating. When it comes to the bullying scene of Cady, Brandon who has the unfortunate scene of having his ear ripped off, doesn’t cut away. Now we see it in all its gory detail. Gemma’s neighbor who gets power washed to death is also in main focus. We also have a new death scene for David (although still impaled by a paper cutter) tears through his chest spewing blood all over his assistant. Oh, and Kurt (the assistant) also gets a nice new gory death too!
- The Ending | Don’t worry! I’m not going to ruin it. Just know as far as horror endings go, this one is pretty cool. Throughout the movie, I was turning to my wife and saying that “I hoped it goes down a terminator-like moment” and suffice it to say, I wasn’t disappointed. There is a lot more to the ending though, and some eagle-eyed viewers will pick up on a line in the movie that hints at how they are going to approach the already confirmed sequel, M3GAN 2.0. This was obviously going to do well financially. With a modest budget of $12 million, its theatrical cut alone made well over $137 million.
- The Music | For a horror movie there was very little emphasis on sound and music. What we have here were a few licensed tracks that are either played in the background as music that the actors are listening to or as part of an advertisement for the toy company. Usually, in horror movies, we have some sort of atmosphere-building sounds or sounds for tension. Here though, they have decided to go down a minimalistic route. While this can work in some instances, there were far too many scenes in this movie where we have a vacant stare of M3GAN where the camera slowly zooms in. Is she awake? Is she shut down? I feel some better use of audio could have really helped sell the mood here.
What we Disliked
- Nothing | There was nothing I disliked about M3GAN UNRATED.
You’ll love this if you liked: Anabelle, Terminator, and The Nun
M3GAN UNRATED is sure to please horror fans, and fans of the theatrical cut alike. For those wanting a gorier experience and a fresh take on the film, give it a try. M3GAN has a decent story under all of the death and gives us a startling look at what the potential of AI can be. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for M3GAN 2.0 when it releases in January 2025.
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