M3GAN First Reviews: A Surprisingly Fun and Funny Horror Icon Is Born

Critics say the campy sci-fi horror flick leans into its ridiculous premise and runs with it, even if it's hampered a bit by its PG-13 rating.

by | January 5, 2023 | Comments


January has long been considered a dumping ground for movies that are expected to perform poorly, but M3GAN could be an exception, given the stellar reviews for the Blumhouse horror-comedy. The movie built up anticipation with its trailers, which went viral for their fun tone, and now critics are confirming that M3GAN is indeed a campy delight that’s worth seeing. Despite killer dolls and AI gone wrong being common in the horror and sci-fi genres, the production team of Jason Blum and James Wan, aided by everything and everyone that went into the portrayal of the titular toy, apparently have made a fresh and entertaining movie to start off 2023.

Here’s what critics are saying about M3GAN:

Is M3GAN a new horror icon?

She’s absolutely f—ing nuts, and what fun to watch her play. – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

The deliciously menacing doll steals every scene… M3GAN is fascinating to watch, whether she’s staring out a window with unnerving intent, busting some contortionist moves, or simply cocking her head in a sudden tilt that induces both shivers and snickers. – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

She is methodical and downright scary at times — but it is always for what she thinks is a good cause, and that is something that doesn’t happen every day. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

She gets too wisecracking in the end — but otherwise she’s a fresh and sinister addition to the canon. – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

M3GAN’s greatest shortcoming is that the human characters aren’t nearly as entertaining as she is… Whenever she isn’t on screen, including during the movie’s setup, things don’t operate quite as well. – Karl Delossantos, Smash Cut Reviews

A genre star is born from motherboards and violence. – Matt Donato, IGN Movies

Amie Donald and Violet McGraw in M3GAN (2022)

(Photo by Geoffrey Short/©Universal Pictures)

How does the film stand out in its genre?

M3GAN sets itself apart from its predecessors by embracing the silliness of the premise and catering directly to the internet audience. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Inverse

M3GAN fits into a tradition of demon-doll movies going back to the Karen Black episode of Trilogy of Terror and the Annabelle trilogy (also produced by Wan), but it has its own amusing throwaway token relevance. – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

A deeper understanding of the characters distinguishes M3GAN from other movies. – Germain Lussier,

Its creators are so clearly on the same insane wavelength, nimbly blending camp and social satire and actual terror, that M3GAN is poised to crack the murder-doll pantheon and stay there forever. – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

The script by Akela Cooper (from a story by Cooper and producer James Wan) is a bit wittier than your standard slasher fare. – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

The thing about formulaic movies like M3GAN is that sometimes they get it right… Laced with a nasty wit and passive cynicism, M3GAN is a surprisingly fun thriller. – Norman Gidney, HorrorBuzz

Amie Donald and Ronny Chieng in M3GAN (2022)

(Photo by Geoffrey Short/©Universal Pictures)

Does it deliver on gore?

Some scenes, like [an] ear-ripping scene, flirt with a more violent and grisly outcome, only to fall back into PG-13 territory. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Inverse

It’s not exactly light on the bloodshed, but it’s not aiming for a high amount of gore, either. – Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

How much more fun could M3GAN be were its murderous creation really allowed to let loose? Instead, the film is forced to look away from the gruesome stuff and keep the body count relatively low. – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

Are there any breakout performances?

Violet McGraw is a rock star in this film. She is pure perfection… That girl is going places, so keep an eye on her. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

The MVP of M3GAN is the young Violet McGraw, whose multifaceted performance adeptly showcases the emotional intensity of Cady’s situation… McGraw’s performance really lands. – Jeff Ewing, Slashfilm

Amie Donald in M3GAN (2022)

(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)

Is there more to M3GAN than meets the eye?

Beneath the ridiculous antics of its uncanny-valley villain and Black Mirror-knockoff plot lies a surprisingly touching story about grief and family bonds. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Inverse

While being practically built for meme/gif culture, it’s still a film attempting to tackle ideas surrounding grief and the over-reliance on technology to handle life’s problems. – Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

For every scene in which M3GAN seems to be auditioning for Drag Race, there is another scene grounded in some kind of reality — or, at least, a sense of stakes. – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

Not so subtle messages about relying too much on electronic devices — especially when parenting — adds to the humor and fun of the film. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

The majority of the movie is infinitely more serious and sad, resulting in a slightly imbalanced but nevertheless rewarding experience. – Germain Lussier,

Is M3GAN going to be an internet sensation?

M3GAN is made to be memed. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Inverse

M3GAN manages to transform its well-trod elements into a tense, engaging horror-comedy outing with a keen eye for tongue-in-cheek and meme-worthy scenes. – Jeff Ewing, Slashfilm

Amie Donald in M3GAN (2022)

(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)

Will we want a sequel?

Viewers will leave theaters wanting more of her, and fingers crossed we get it. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

If it really happens in the future, I do hope James Wan and Gerard Johnstone can come up with something that isn’t sticking too close to the usual formula. – Casey Chong, Casey’s Movie Mania

M3GAN opens everywhere on January 6, 2022.

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