Jay’s review published on Letterboxd:
This film was so good! It’s funny, it actually reminded me of another Blumhaus film Upgrade, and I had no idea until now that Leigh Whannel (James Wan collaborator) created that film. Their styles are so complimentary.
Anyway, weird connection aside, this movie really succeeded at doing what great horror tends to do: The horror is a by-product of a grounded theme. This one being themes of loss, of parenthood, of technology (and NOT in an insultingly talk-down way like a lot of films do). This film is NOT anti-technology. It appreciates technology, but it is pro prioritization and context. Technology in and of itself is a marvelous incredible thing, but when used as a distraction in bad circumstances it can absolutely be harmful avoidance (like anything can). The fact that it’s a technological marvel like M3GAN is almost irrelevant, the themes are universal in poor coping mechanisms and go beyond the “technology bad” straw-mans argument.
The acting is all really well done, everyone did great. The lead and the daughter (the girl from hill house) absolutely brought their a-game and that was appreciated. M3GAN as a character does follow the same clichés that you know when signing up for this kind of film, but it’s still fun and well done.
The writing is really well paced, the movie has time to breathe and be a non-silly/horrific movie dealing with genuine drama and hardship. And that restraint only helps the crazier moments land stronger than they would have if this had been a non-stop goofy horror film. The editing helped as well, it had a perfect runtime and the flow of the film was great.
The effects were fantastic, M3GAN looked so good. I really can’t get over how uncanny she was, but also able to genuinely draw sympathy and not just look like a monster waiting to happen. The range they were able to do on her was great.
Honestly, I don’t have many complaints about this one. It wasn’t anything entirely new, and a few jokes didn’t exactly land, but that’s like 4% of the time. I was ultimately surprised at how competently this film, which JUST looked like a goofy gimmick film, ended up being. Worth a watch with an open mind that it doesn’t break new ground.