Entertainment

M3GAN, With PG-13 Rating and TIkTok Dance, For New Horror Movie Fans – The Hollywood Reporter


She is an internet sensation and a trendsetter. She’s a four foot tall killer with attitude. She’s M3GAN, and for producers James Wan and Jason Blum, she could very well be one of the most significant additions to Universal’s monster library in recent years. Frankenstein’s monster for the iPad has been created, and if her social media success translates into box office revenue, the studio may have a new horror icon, something horror fans will love The 80s and 90s were and are calling.

But just like decades ago, this modern-day Prometheus’ fate lies in the steamy hands of thrill-seeking teens, meaning older horror fans may have to accept the fact that although icons can still be created, they can still be created. will never be the same as they were in the past. And we shouldn’t want them that way. It’s time for the kids to take turns creating their own nightmares, even while they’re dancing on TikTok.

In M3GAN, a robotics engineer and toy designer, Gemma (Allison Williams) is tasked with taking care of her orphaned 7-year-old granddaughter Cady (Violet McGraw). Trying to form a bond and put work aside, Gemma revisits an abandoned commercial project, the Model 3 Android, M3GAN, to provide all the care and protection Cady needs. . It’s a job M3GAN takes very seriously because her uncontrolled internet access causes her to learn at an alarming rate with violent consequences.

Not directed by Gerard Johnstone M3GAN revolutionized the killer doll concept as most audiences with a working knowledge of the horror genre could more or less know where things were going. But in that familiarity lies the fun of a movie that knows exactly what it is and takes the opportunity to craft a memorable monster from an American Girl-style cyborg who plays the role of a plug-in. Camps and weird elements have always been an important part of horror movies. At least, that’s something older viewers will probably take away from it to some extent.

But for the younger audience, who Chucky is now older than Talky Tiny when Child’s play Released in 1989, the M3GAN is something of a throwback to the present. Child’s playMy Buddy’s satire is a completely different pop culture language for today’s generation, still enjoyed, but not of the moment. On the other hand, M3GAN specifically refers to a generation that grew up with limited time to use devices, iPads before they were fully mobile devices, their sense of TikTok dancing and Internet usage behaviors were best summed up in “Welcome to the Internet” by Bo Burnham.

Screenwriters Akela Cooper and Wan, who brought together the modern, absurd cult film Malignant (2021) comes to life, knowing how to create loud, meme-able moments beyond its core horror audience. There’s no data to verify that, but I bet a lot of people watched Malignant because of Gabriel’s chair-throwing gif, and ‘Sydney, I’m adopted’ than Warner Bros.’ Marketing is minimal investment. While many M3GANFuture audiences have embraced the joy of marketing around the film, with others lamenting that the buzz is unnatural and specifically crafted to lead to memes, viral videos, social media accounts, and more. a very engaging society, a Twitter feud with Universal’s Chucky (a marketing strategy of its own), and a somewhat ironic investment from fans that some believe has resulted in overly positive reviews (M3GAN currently at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, just a few points behind Godfather, as someone pointed out the other day.) But all of these marketing tactics are part of the experience and become even more important when creating a movie designed to appeal to teenagers. years, which savvy critics are well aware of. Because let’s face it, teenagers crowned horror icons and the genre not only survived but thrived by inviting those new fans. So the complaints about M3GANThe appeal of TikTok and PG-13 is ironic.

Sure, I get it — part of the fun of the horror genre is seeing blood splatters and gruesome murder scenes, including familiar ones. But the horror quality doesn’t depend on it, as many PG-13 thrillers have proven otherwise. Part of the complaint with M3GAN led to the fact that its ratings were slashed after the premiere of the first trailer proved to be a hit with teenagers. Screenwriter Akela Cooper admits LA time that her original scenario had a much higher body count. There are even rumors of an uncut version of the film, which I’ll take the chance to see. At the same time, I think the movie still does well without the R rating and I would rather see the movie create a franchise and prove successful with a PG-13 rating, than be denied the ability to tell the story. future with the character for less success with the R rating. Like anything else, it’s a matter of choosing your battle and realizing what you’ve asked for.

I regularly see people on Twitter talking about how we no longer have new horror icons like we used to in the late 70s, 80s and 90s — Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Chucky , Candyman , Devil Face. We have reboots and legacy sequels revolving around those characters, but the post-remake boom of the 2000s was more focused on concepts than killers. We get vague evil that takes many forms, paranormal activities, sequels, trauma, and building social horrors. And when we have a character to capture, The Babadook, Black Phillip or Pearl, they are either part of single cinematic works, or created to appeal to very specific movie lovers and unrecognizable outside of the loyal horror fan base.

More recent icons, whose translators go beyond just movie buffs, Jigsaw and Annabelle, James Wan’s co-creators, have gained traction as they did thanks to younger horror audiences. , who sneak into the movie or recognize the characters and immediately understand why they are weird. Not because of the theme or the art of the film, but because of the simplicity of the image.

Of course, haunted universe items and Saw R-rated movies. So why can’t M3GAN do the same thing? The movie certainly pushes the limits of PG-13, especially a scene involving an ear, but it’s not a bloodbath. Then again, it’s not Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) or Halloween (1979) despite the R ratings and their violent association with the sequels.

M3GAN is about younger audiences, their reliance on technology, emotional attachment placed in digital proxies rather than human interaction. The invitation to question how technology addiction affects the brain’s emotional pathways is just the horror movie’s modern answer to its earlier warnings about being careful with trespassing, giving too much power for nightmares and all the drinking, smoking and playing has increased the body count so much. Although four decades ago it was easier for underage audiences to watch these films, movie viewing has changed. Why make a movie for an audience that would have trouble reaching it? Because you want to see how this blade hitting someone’s face is different from the other times you’ve seen it? Yes, it would be great, but would it be enough to turn down an experience that could shape the next generation of horror fans? I do not think so.

This debate about ratings and marketing strategies and target audiences seems to happen with at least one horror movie per year. Some of those movies are good, and others aren’t. M3GANluck is one of the good things, and if anything it is proof that all those factors that exist outside of the actual experience of watching a movie need not turn into a generational tug-of-war. will own this horror entry and who will build the lore around it, even if the lore is something silly like a TikTok dance.

No, M3GAN and the culture around her is nothing like what you grew up with. But in the spirit of creating new horror icons and new horror fans, join the dance, stop the bleeding, and hopefully we’ll see more of this titan horror. She’s too happy to be deterred by something as silly as ratings.

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