M3GAN screenwriter talks prioritizing "fun" horror in the new movie

Amie Donald as M3GAN and Violet McGraw as Cady in M3GAN
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

If you've seen the trailer for M3GAN (TikTok dance and all), you know that we're in for a terrifying camp treat with the new horror movie. 

An eerily life-like doll, Model 3 Generative Android – or M3GAN for short – has been built using AI in order to become a protective companion to children. She’s brought into action when her creator Gemma (Allison Williams) suddenly finds herself caring for her orphaned niece Cady.

Malignant screenwriter Akela Cooper penned the movie, and a return to something fun was certainly at the forefront of her script. "We had a period of quote-unquote elevated horror, which was still good horror," Cooper tells SFX in the latest issue of the magazine, featuring Teen Wolf on the cover. 

"There’s places for all horror, though I do have to say, personally, as a child of the '80s, I am happy that we’re coming back to that ’80s sensibility of fun, wild horror. I was happy to have a hand in that last year with Malignant. For horror fans, it’s a smorgasbord, they have their pick of what they want to see. Variety is always nice."

Director Gerard Johnstone says that viewers shouldn’t expect a let-up from being tense, however. "M3GAN is scary more by virtue of you’re dealing with this," he explains. 

"She’s front and center on screen. It’s not like other movies where you have a sinister presence that’s lurking in the shadows and it’s maybe more about jump scares. M3GAN is a character in the movie. She’s not a presence. So she’s just very unsettling. It’s more that the overall experience of the film is really unsettling – in a fun way!"

M3GAN arrives in US theaters on January 6, before following to the UK on January 13. For more on the movie, be sure to pick up a copy of the new SFX Magazine, out Wednesday, December 18, and available to order online

I'm the Editor of SFX, the world's number one sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – available digitally and in print every four weeks since 1995. I've been editing magazines, and writing for numerous publications since before the Time War. Obviously SFX is the best one. I knew being a geek would work out fine.

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