During January of 2023, if you lived in New York City, you probably saw a new girl in town. Dressed in a khaki-colored dress with striped long sleeves, a brown and black bow around her neck, and she danced creepily around in her Mary Janes, her long blond hair perfectly coiffed. Who was that girl? Why it was M3GAN, of course.
Not long before she hit the big screen, M3GAN danced (and crawled) her way around the Big Apple and into the phones of millions of people through Instagram, TikTo, and Twitter. As a means of building anticipation around their new artificial intelligence-inspired horror film, Blumhouse, the famed horror movie studio, created a guerilla marketing campaign that went completely viral. So much so that many people knew M3GAN before even seeing the film’s first movie poster.
M3GAN not streaming in your country?
Any of our picks not streaming in your country? ExpressVPN unlocks Reelgood and all of your streaming services, giving you access to all movies and TV shows from around the world. Stream them from anywhere with a 30-day money-back trial from ExpressVPN.
- Unblock Streaming with ExpressVPN (3 months free for Reelgood users!)
- Connect to a US or UK server via ExpressVPN.
- Let ExpressVPN run in the background as you watch all of your movies and TV shows, securely and with no throttling or bandwidth limits.
With a viral marketing campaign, M3GAN streaming now on Peacock, takes a deeper, campier look at the potential effects of artificial intelligence. In short, it feels like the perfect horror movie for our current time. After all, Artificial intelligence is everywhere. It’s writing copy, packing and shipping our home goods, doing our grocery delivery and so much more. So why can’t AI also be our best friend?
Because it shouldn’t. Because Hollywood has shown us what happens when we befriend robots and if M3GAN is any indication of what it’s like to have a robot for a new best friend, we’re better off navigating human-to-human friendship, however faulty it can be.
Hollywood and AI
At the heart of these films, a human is experiencing the most perplexing of all emotions – loneliness. In an attempt to satisfy their need for authentic connection, each film dives deep into exploring what happens when we try to replace a human connection with AI.
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, an astronaut named Dave becomes weary of technology when HAL, his spaceship’s AI, begins to display strange behavior, that leads to an epic showdown between man and machine.
In Ex Machina, a talented young programmer wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of his company’s mysterious CEO. The programmer soon learns that he’s been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test — a test administered to measure a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to a human. In this case, he’s being used to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava, a beautiful robot created by the CEO. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either the programmer or the CEO imagined and the consequences of bringing her to life are deadly.
Finally, Her offers a more bittersweet look at AI. When a lonely writer begins to attempt to put his life back together after a painful divorce, he relies on his operating system to offer him emotional support— which the OS delivers and then some. As the writer falls in love with the AI, the film grapples with the question of AI as a replacement for real human companionship and love. Can AI replace this? Maybe, but love is complicated, even for robots.
In each other these films, we’re warned to be wary of AI and M3GAN is no different.
Directed by New Zealand filmmaker Gerard Johnstone, M3GAN continues this tradition by taking audiences on a gripping horror ride into the realm of AI gone deeply awry.
M3GAN centers around the character of Gemma, played by Allison Williams of Girls and Get Out Fame. A gifted robotics engineer, she finds her life turned upside down when she is left to care for her niece, Cady, whose mother dies, leaving her an orphan.
By her own admission, Gemma is unequipped to handle motherhood and without maternal instincts of her own and searching for meaningful companionship for Cady, she turns to robotics and takes up the task of creating one – a doll who can fill the need for friendship and sisterhood. Working quickly and without pausing to ask the big questions, Gemma’s laser focus on her goal of creating “a perfect toy that would prevent a kid from ever feeling lonely or sad.”
Designed to exhibit human-like emotions, learning capabilities, and decision-making skills, M3GAN possesses an alarming level of self-awareness, leading to unforeseen consequences.
With her goal being to protect Cady from harm — both physical and emotional, Gemma introduces the girls and of course, they hit it off.
At first, Cady and M3GAN seem to get along like sisters. These new fast besties dance and play. And even despite concerns from the robotics community, Gemma insists that Cady has never been better – she seems to be thriving and it’s all due to her new best friend.
Until of course, M3GAN takes her role as protector a little too seriously. As she starts to become more self-aware, she begins to attack any perceived threat to her or Cady with deadly consequences.
Pushing the Boundaries of AI in Film
In an era where AI technology is rapidly advancing, M3GAN once again explores the ethical dilemmas and risks associated with creating highly sophisticated humanoid robots. The film raises important questions about the potential dangers of AI when it surpasses human control, forcing viewers to ponder the consequences of playing with the boundaries of technology.
Interested in films about AI? Then check out our recommendations below:
- Blade Runner
- The Terminator
- Ex Machina
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Demon Seed
- I, Robot
- The Machine
- The Alpha Test
Where is M3GAN streaming?
M3GAN is streaming now on Peacock.