Saturday, July 13, 2024

Now Rated PG-13, ‘M3GAN’ Will Scare the Hell Out of Young Kids, Too

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Just like Captain America, M3GAN doesn’t like bullies.

The new reigning queen of scary dolls rips a mean kid’s ear off in the latest teaser for the Universal/Blumhouse horror-comedy, out this weekend after months of viral anticipation.

“You know what happens to bad boys who don’t mind their manners?” she asks, grabbing a handful of cartilage. “They grow up to be bad men.”

Preach, creepy robot.

In a new interview with Games Radar, M3GAN‘s director, Gerard Johnstone, discussed toning down the film’s gore quotient to get a PG-13 rating—which, he said, arguably ended up making it scarier. The power of suggestion, he pointed out, can be a lot more powerful.

“It seemed kind of a mistake not to embrace it,” he said. “I even remember thinking early on, ‘This could be PG-13, and some of my favorite films like Drag Me to Hell are PG-13.’ So we made the decision to go PG-13 and actually reshot a couple of things.”

If you take the director’s word for it, cutting down the on-screen blood and guts was the right move: “What I was really stoked about is that when we reshot those scenes, they were more effective. It’s like ‘Yes, you do have to cut away at certain times,’ but it’s fun having to rely on sound and suggestion so much.”

And M3GAN has been doling out plenty of suggestion since the inception of its marketing campaign last fall, to wild success. TikTok went nuts for the soft choreo moves in the trailer, with users putting their own spin on everything short of the android’s gravity-defying literal spin.

This, of course, was no accident, as the movie’s creative team told Entertainment Weekly. Johnstone claimed to have come up with the dancing M3GAN in a fever dream, explaining, “It was one of those crazy, sleep-deprived, 3 a.m. thoughts. Wouldn’t it kind of be funny if the soundtrack suddenly became real and M3GAN ended up busting a move to whatever music was playing. It was just something that everyone embraced and loved.”

And, per executive producer Allison Williams, who stars in the film as the killer droid’s creator, “We had internally come up with memes to distribute, but we didn’t end up needing to deploy them, because people started making their own. You can’t even dream that big when you’re doing something like this. That was just such an exciting day. It was proof of concept.”

The evil genius marketing of Williams and co. has since been unfurling across the internet and into the real world. At the movie’s premiere last month, producer Jason Blum showed up dressed as M3GAN, while a gaggle (a murder?) of eight M3GANs performed on the red carpet—then resurfaced to freak everyone out at a Chargers halftime show last weekend.

Their theme song is Taylor Swift’s “It’s Nice to Have a Friend,” which makes the blonde bot’s resemblance to the singer extra funny. We can’t wait to root for this anti-hero who will—according to producer James Wan—probably be back for a sequel or three.

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