M3GAN in ‘M3GAN.’ Photograph: Universal Pictures / Click to view the trailer.

M3gan is a paragon of how horror movies should be done.

The story of a young girl Cady (Violet McGraw) who loses her parents and then seeks solitude and comfort in a life-like doll until the spine-chilling slayer machine begins to lead a life of its own, is touching and gripping and funny and shocking at the same time.


Undeniably, the powerful adaptation of Akela Cooper and James Wan’s screenplay and story plays a huge part in the film’s success.

The interaction between the human characters, who include Gemma (Allison Williams) and her boss, the comedic David (Ronny Chieng), delivers solid humor and strong suspense under director Gerard Johnstone’s keen eye for detail.

The bond between M3gan and Cady, though, is felt on your skin.

Better believe this one’s a killer. Photograph: Geoffrey Short/Universal Pictures

At one moment M3gan is endearing and charming and at the next darkly dangerous. When the doll starts taking control it feels like being hit with a ten-ton hammer.

Only after the screening is this reviewer about to discover that M3gan is being portrayed by a 12-year-old actor Amie Donald from New Zealand.

Watching online clips of her, it becomes obvious that she’s also a great dancer, which she in an interview said helped her with balance while playing the robot, because people, by nature, are more wobbly.

Donald is absolutely fantastic with her movements, which leave no doubt in the viewer’s mind that they are watching something out of this world.

While killing itself as a concept was not something Donald enjoyed, she said in the interview, that portraying a killer robot was something that she considered great fun.

Forget Chucky the doll. M3gan redefines the doll of horror.

‘M3gan’ premieres in cinemas on January 13. Running time: 102 minutes.