The poster alone for Universal’s upcoming horror M3gan, from director Gerard Johnstone, was enough to make it seem like the feature might be worthy of a spot in the great killer doll canon. But watching the movie’s trailer, it’s clear that M3gan’s going for a very of-the-moment kind of madness that owes just as much to Tesla’s totally real and almost functional robots as it does the Child’s Play franchise and classics like Small Wonder.
Written by Akela Cooper and co-producer James Wan, M3gan tells the tale of Gemma (Allison Williams), a roboticist whose work and personal life collide when her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) is suddenly orphaned after a car accident. Though Gemma’s not exactly keen on raising a child herself, in Cady, she sees an opportunity to test out M3gan (voiced by Jenna Davis), a sophisticated android she and her fellow engineers built to be the ultimate friend and companion to lonely children.
Though M3gan very much becomes that for Cady in the new trailer, it isn’t long before the robot’s pleasantries are overridden by her prime directive to protect her human charge and she starts acting more like one of those mechanical dogs Boston Dynamics swears it’ll never weaponize. M3gan’s definitely got the whole creepy doll thing down, and it looks like the movie’s sense of humor’s going to contrast well with the sheer amount of gore it’ll feature. But we won’t know just how M3gan stacks up against the likes of true legends like Annabelle until the movie hits theaters next year on January 6th. It was originally scheduled for release on the 13th, but Deadline reports it has been moved up a week.
Update, October 19th, 7:30PM ET: Updated to note a new release date.