M3GAN lands near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes score as first reviews say it lives up to the hype

(Image credit: Universal)

The first reviews for Blumhouse’s much-hyped new horror M3GAN are in – and they’re pretty glowing. The film follows a young girl called Cady (Violet McGraw) who’s gifted a state-of-the-art AI doll named M3GAN after her parents die in a car accident. Cady’s aunt Gemma (Allison Williams) is the roboticist who helped develop the doll, but she may not have realized what she created as M3GAN becomes self-aware.

The Gerard Johnstone-directed movie has been praised for leaning into fun and humor, but some critics have argued it's a bit light on horror. We’ve rounded up what they have to say about why the movie has landed a near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes score of 98%.

Total Film – 3/5 – Neil Smith

"Precision-built to make you chortle, M3GAN is a l0t of 4un. On the fr1ghts front, however, it’s basically a Furby. M3GAN herself – a combo of animatronics, CGI, and the voice/body double act of Jenna Davis and Amie Donald – is a pleasingly creepy concoction with a talent for deadpan put-downs. But if she’s to spawn another franchise, she’ll need some upgrades."

Guardian – 3/5 – Peter Bradshaw  (opens in new tab)

"Derivative though M3gan undoubtedly is – with creepy fake toy TV ads that are a ripoff-homage to Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop, and a freakout finale that references James Cameron’s android meisterwerk – there are some adroit satirical touches about dolls as toxic aspirational templates, dolls as parodies of intimacy and sensitivity and tech itself as sinister child-pacification, with kids given iPads the way Victorian children were given alcoholic gripe water."

Entertainment Weekly – B+ – Leah Greenblatt  (opens in new tab)

"This is not the morose, carnage-soaked horror of dank basements and clammy night terrors; most of the movie happens in bright daylight, every maniacal head tilt, ungodly hip swivel, and murder-by-gardening-tool calibrated for screams that end not with a gasp but a giggle. M3GAN came to play, and possibly reboot her motherboard for a sequel. Are you not entertained?"

Violet McGraw as Cady and Allison Williams as Gemma in M3GAN

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Vanity Fair – Richard Lawson  (opens in new tab)

"A buzzy marketing campaign, just as M3GAN has had, can obviously help gin up enthusiasm, especially for a movie being released in the doldrums of January. (January 6, in M3GAN’s case.) But how much enthusiasm is too much? Expectation can hamper a gimmicky little movie like this, a fate Snakes on a Plane suffered almost 17 years ago. Happily, though, M3GAN stands up to its hype."

The Independent – 4/5 – Clarisse Loughrey  (opens in new tab)

"Unleashed into the cinematic wastelands of early January, M3GAN was under real threat of being both overhyped and underwhelming. Studios have a dismal history of completely misunderstanding the internet’s desires (see: the disastrous rerelease of Morbius, which assumed that the proliferation of memes about 'Morbin’ time' equated to people actually wanting to watch Morbius. They did not.) But Cooper, who’s also behind the forthcoming The Nun 2, is a far smarter writer than that. M3GAN – thank god – delivers the goods."

BBC – 3/5 – Nicholas Barber (opens in new tab)

"The android is presented as an incredible technological leap, but that's hardly the case in 2023. It's also presented as being a terrifying monster, whereas it's actually no more threatening than Michael Myers was in Halloween back in 1978. The chilling fact is that the real world has overtaken the one in the film. If you read any article about how AI is creeping into our lives these days, then M3GAN's killing spree will seem quaintly innocuous in comparison."

M3GAN hits theaters on January 6. For more scares, check out our guide to the best horror movies of all time. 

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.