M3GAN

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Short takes

Not suitable under 12; not recommended under 15; parental guidance to 15 (violence, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for M3GAN
  • a review of M3GAN completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 January 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 12–14 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 15 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: M3GAN
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Violence, sustained threat and coarse language
Length: 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Cady (Violet McGraw) is a ten year old girl whose parents have both been killed in a terrible car crash. She goes to live with her aunt, Jemma (Allison Williams), who is a technical toy maker. Jemma is under a lot of pressure at work to come up with a new invention as her boss, David (Ronny Chieng), isn’t interested in the artificial intelligence doll she has created. Jemma struggles with having to cope with a grieving child, while balancing her work commitments. She therefore introduces her AI doll, M3GAN (Amie Donald and voice of Jenna Davis), to Cady to help her cope with her difficulties.

Cady becomes emotionally attached to M3GAN, whose main purpose is to take care of Cady and keep her safe. M3GAN, however, takes this to extreme lengths when Cady is at all threatened by others. M3GAN takes on a life of her own and becomes a killing machine, eliminating all who cross her path. It is up to Jemma to find a way to shut M3GAN down, which becomes increasingly more difficult.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Horror; Artificial Intelligence; Robots.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of violence in this movie, including:

  • The car Cady is in, with her parents, comes to a halt in a snowstorm when it is hit suddenly by a truck.
  • David is an angry man who yells at his employees and throws things about.
  • While playing, Cady shoots a toy arrow at M3GAN and says, “You’re dead”.
  • M3GAN puts her hand through a hole in the fence and the neighbour’s dog, Dewey, suddenly grabs her arm. The dog pulls her through the fence and tosses her about, biting at her neck. Cady screams and tries to rescue M3GAN, when the dog bites her arm as well.
  • M3GAN lures Dewey out by using his owner’s voice and kills him.
  • A particularly dark scene happens at a camp when a boy called Branden teases and hurts Cady. M3GAN appears out of nowhere, Brendan hits her on the face, picks her up and carries her off. He throws her to the ground, takes her shoes off and slaps her face. M3GAN grabs his ears and stretches them so hard that she pulls them off. She suddenly stands up and chases Brendan on all fours. He runs out onto a road in front of a car and is killed.
  • M3GAN attacks Jemma’s neighbour with a water gun and a nail gun, and pours petrol all over her.
  • Cady and Jemma fight. Cady throws a chair at the window and hits Jemma across the face.
  • One of Jemma’s co-workers tries to stop M3GAN, who then ties wire around his neck. He’s choking to death but manages to free himself. The lab explodes.
  • M3GAN attacks another character with a sword. She kills two men with it.
  • The final scene is particularly gory when M3GAN comes to attack Jemma. Jemma uses a chainsaw to cut through M3GAN’s head. Cady gets involved and the fight continues with characters grabbing each other by the throat. One gets hung upside down and thrown into a corner. Jemma rips off M3GAN’s face and smashes her head with a canister.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • M3GAN is quite creepy, she has glassy eyes that photograph everything she sees.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • There are many sudden scenes, loud foreboding music and dark imagery.
  • Cady is seen burying her dog at the start of the movie.
  • The AI doll bursts into flames during testing.
  • Jemma’s neighbour has an aggressive dog which barks ferociously at them and is quite scary.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Cady is taken away in an ambulance. She is covered in blood.
  • Cady, while crying, tells M3GAN how sad she is at losing her parents. She’s afraid she’ll forget what they look like.
  • Cady grabs Jemma by the arm in a rebellious moment.
  • M3GAN enters Jemma’s house, which is in darkness. Jemma hears the piano being played and finds M3GAN playing it.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • In a very scary voice, M3GAN tells Jemma to let Cady go. Loud and dark music plays.
  • The scene where Brendan is killed is quite scary. He is seen being carried off in a body bag.
  • M3GAN kills the neighbour who is seen being taken away in an ambulance.
  • Jemma becomes scared of M3GAN who becomes increasingly dangerous. Jemma can’t turn M3GAN off and finds she has erased all her data.
  • Two dead men are seen in an elevator covered in blood.
  • The final scene is quite disturbing. M3GAN has a huge gash across her face where Jemma gets her with the chainsaw. Jemma manages to chop M3GAN in half but she keeps attacking as just a head and torso.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • iPad.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Drinking in the office.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Oh my God
  • Shit
  • Christ
  • Jesus
  • Fuck off
  • Bullshit
  • Where the hell?
  • Bitch.

In a nutshell

M3GAN is a horror, sci-fi movie that shows what could happen if we let Artificial Intelligence take over. The film is very violent and scary and it is therefore not suitable for children under 12. It also isn’t recommended for children under 15 and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 15.

The main message from this movie is that electronic devices and toys cannot replace human interaction.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Jemma tried to be a good aunt but she had no experience of child raising. She eventually realises that Cady needed to connect with her rather than an electronic doll.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The consequences of delegating care of children to electronic devices.
  • Children who’ve lost their parents would be particularly upset by this movie. Children need a lot of time and compassion in dealing with grief.