How horror-movie doll M3GAN went viral with killer dance, Latest Movies News - The New Paper

How horror-movie doll M3GAN went viral with killer dance

LOS ANGELES – Step aside, Chucky and Annabelle. There is a new horror-movie doll in town and her name is M3GAN.

And because she represents cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI), this deadly children’s toy would “make quick work of” killing the demon-possessed dolls from the Child’s Play (1988 to 2019) and Annabelle (2014 to 2019) horror franchises.

That is the confident prediction of American actress Allison Williams, who stars in and co-produces the science-fiction horror flick M3GAN, which opens in cinemas on Thursday.

The titular killer robotic doll has already gone viral. A trailer showing her busting out some disconcertingly adult dance moves – in a scene with Malaysian comedian-actor Ronny Chieng, who also appears in the film – got millions of views on TikTok in December, inspiring copycat dance videos and memes across social media.

Williams plays Gemma, a toy company roboticist who uses advanced AI to create M3GAN, which is short for Model 3 Generative Android, and is programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and protector.

When Gemma gets custody of her unexpectedly orphaned niece Cady (Violet McGraw), she decides to enlist M3GAN’s (Amie Donald) help in taking care of her charge. But this has dire consequences when the doll becomes overprotective of the girl.

At the Los Angeles premiere of the movie, Williams and co-producers James Wan and Jason Blum say the story is a precisely calibrated mix of horror and humour.

Wan, the Malaysian-born director behind the Saw (2004 to 2021) and The Conjuring (2013 to 2021) horror films, describes the plot – which he developed with screenwriter Akela Cooper – as “fun, scary and darkly humorous”.

“I cannot wait for the audience to experience it. It’s such a perfect movie to see with a crowd in a theatre,” says the 45-year-old film-maker.

And he believes the virality of the trailer is because the M3GAN doll is “so sassy and full of personality – I feel that’s what people are really latching on to”.

Blum, who turned up to the premiere dressed in drag as M3GAN, notes that the movie is also arriving at a time when AI is in the news more than ever, like with the recent launch of the chatbot ChatGPT.

American actress Allison Williams (in silver) and producer Jason Blum (third from left, in drag) at the premiere of M3GAN in Hollywood, California, on Dec 7, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

“I think AI is being talked about more and more even in the last few weeks, and it’s very much on people’s minds, so that’s one reason I think the trailer has connected in the way that it has,” says the 53-year-old American producer behind the Paranormal Activity (2007 to 2021) and Insidious (2010 to 2018) horror films.

Williams, who starred in the acclaimed comedy drama series Girls (2012 to 2017) but gained wider recognition for Jordan Peele’s horror film Get Out (2017) , says the movie is “a very unique experience tonally”.

And that is one reason the viral success of the trailer was a pleasant surprise.

The 34-year-old actress says: “People are having so much fun with her. They seem to understand what her energy was, and she has a very specific vibe. And we knew that as long as people understood her, we were going to be okay.”

While Wan and Blum say they would put M3GAN dolls to work doing chores around the house, Williams thinks the robot’s best quality is her fierce, albeit deadly, loyalty. “She’s like a fiercely protective best friend. You know those people who are, like, ‘If he does something to you, I will kill him?’ She means it. It’s not an empty threat with her.”

Horror fans have already been furiously debating online about who would be the deadliest in a showdown: M3GAN, Chucky or Annabelle.

Williams says: “Listen, there’s no contest. My girl has got it. She has the World Wide Web in her brain and she’s got it all. She has a leg up on everyone. I think she’d kill both of them and she’d make quick work of it.”

  • M3GAN is now showing in cinemas.