Writer/producer James Wan perfectly describes his new movie M3GAN as “Annabelle meets the Terminator.”
It’s been one of the most talked-about trailers of the year: the preview for M3GAN, the creepy new film from writer/producer James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring, Aquaman) and horror studio Blumhouse. Featuring a child-like android that goes on a murderous spree, the film has a positive buzz exceeding some of the biggest upcoming blockbusters. In a new interview with Empire Magazine (and reported by Movieweb), Wan has perfectly pegged the film as “Annabelle meets The Terminator,” as he discussed what makes the trailer so disturbing to the millions that have viewed it.
“I’m fascinated by things that are meant to be innocent, but become more… malign,” he said. Akela Cooper (who wrote the screenplay) and Wan (who wrote the story) teamed up to create the concept, with Cooper citing inspiration from the 1978 Anthony Hopkins horror flick Magic, about a murderous ventriloquism dummy. Mix in the indestructibility of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, and some disturbing dance moves, and Wan seems to have the formula for a guaranteed hit.
The reaction to the M3GAN trailer was immediate and viral. Producer Jason Blum went as M3gan for Halloween, and the clip of the character dancing has already become a meme, and a TikTok trend. Universal is reportedly already developing a sequel based on the buzz, giving James Wan yet another horror franchise to build upon.
After getting his start in horror by writing and producing Saw and its sequels, Wan moved on to put his mark on other Blumhouse franchises, including Insidious, The Conjuring, and Annabelle. He then went on to direct more mainstream blockbusters Furious 7, Aquaman, and its sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, due in theaters next year.
Now, James Wan has been shifting back into horror. He wrote, produced, and directed 2021’s Malignant, an absolutely bonkers horror film that has a twist so over-the-top, I won’t dare spoil it for you. He’s also in the midst of developing The Crooked Man, another horror flick set in the 1980s, as well as a sequel to another of his hits, The Nun 2.
It now appears James Wan is ready to move forward to building a horror movie empire, as he is in talks with Jason Blum to merge his production company, Atomic Monster, with Blum’s production company Blumhouse to build a new studio that will have the market on horror hits cornered.
The film stars Allison Williams (Get Out) as Gemma, a roboticist who creates a doll that is designed to be a child’s best friend, thanks to artificial intelligence. After her niece Cady (Violet McGraw) is orphaned, Gemma gives her a M3GAN prototype as a companion to help her cope. M3GAN is designed to bond to its child owner, but the doll takes its programming too seriously, and a murderous streak ensues.
The film also stars Ronny Chieng, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps, Lori Dungey, Stephane Garneau-Monten, and Jenna Davis. It opens in theaters on January 6, 2023 and is rated PG-13, but if James Wan’s films have taught us anything, it is a PG-13 rating can deliver R-rated scares and thrills.