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Movies like 'M3GAN' to Watch Next

Here are 10 other movies to check out that match the style, themes, and energy of Gerard Johnstone's sci-fi thriller.

Sam Rosenberg
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M3GAN

Universal Pictures

2022 saw a huge uptick in acclaimed and lucrative horror movies and 2023 might continue that streak with Gerard Johnstone's second feature M3GAN

Co-produced by Saw and Insidiousfilmmaker James Wan, who also has a story credit, M3GAN stars Allison Williams as Gemma, a roboticist who builds the lifelike doll Model 3 Generative Android (played by Amie Donald) — that's M3GAN for short — and programs her to spend time with her recently orphaned niece Cady (Violet McGraw). But soon, M3GAN gains self-awareness and becomes extra protective over Cady, leading her to kill anyone who threatens her companion.  

The trailer for M3GAN mounted an insane amount of hype for the film. From its bonkers premise to its darkly humorous tone, M3GAN immediately sent the Internet in a tizzy, eliciting a series of memes on Twitter and more than 700 million Tik Toks with the tag #M3GAN. Universal Pictures is already in talks for a sequel

To celebrate the release of M3GAN, here, Metacritic lists 10 other movies to check out that match the style, themes, and energy of Johnstone's sci-fi thriller.


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Daniel Kaluuya in 'Get Out'

Universal Pictures

Get Out

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of potent, comedic social thrillers
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 104 minutes

Blumhouse, the production company behind M3GAN, has made quite a few hits, with Get Out arguably being their crowning achievement. Like a darkly funny, more contemporary update of 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Get Out depicts a young Black photographer (played by Daniel Kaluuya), who slowly discovers a series of dark secrets when he meets the seemingly liberal parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) of his white girlfriend (M3GAN star Williams). Not only was Get Out comedian Jordan Peele's directorial debut, but also, the film became a cultural phenomenon upon its release in 2017 and has since maintained a reputation as one of the best and most influential horror movies in recent memory. It grossed more than $255 million worldwide on a slim $4.5 million budget and earned numerous accolades, including four Oscar nominations, including one Oscar win (Best Original Screenplay trophy for Peele). Since then, Peele has gone on to write and direct two more critically praised and commercially profitable films, 2019's Us and 2022's Nope.

"Like so much of Key & Peele's comedy, Get Out is refreshing in its naked, frank aggression about confronting racial issues, with comedy, drama, and sharp, unsparing insight." — Tasha Robinson, The Verge


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Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'The Terminator'

Orion Pictures

The Terminator

Metascore: 84
Best for: Fans of grim, gritty sci-fi dystopian flicks
Where to watch:

, , , iTunesVudu
Runtime: 107 minutes

Much like M3GAN, The Terminator (Arnold Schwartzenegger) can be programmed to protect as much as it can be designed to destroy, though the cyborg did a lot more of the latter in James Cameron's 1984 sci-fi thriller. The Terminator (or T-800) is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose unborn spawn will lead the human resistance against the cyborgs and save mankind from extinction in the future. One of the resistance soldiers, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), also goes back in time to save Sarah from The Terminator's unstoppable wrath before it's too late. Developed from a literal fever dream Cameron experienced while making his directorial feature debut Pirahna II, The Terminator became a massive cultural and commercial success, launching Cameron's film career, producing a long-running franchise of sequels and spin-offs, and turning its titular character into one of American cinema's most recognizable icons.

"From the slam-bang direction to the relentless pace to the not-a-word-wasted dialogue and even the driving synth score, everything else about The Terminator just works." — Tom Huddleston, TimeOut


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'Ex Machina'

A24

Ex Machina

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of sophisticated, philosophical drama thrillers about AI
Where to watch:

, , HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 108 minutes

M3GAN isn't the only indestructible female robot to come up on the big screen. In 2014, Alicia Vikander played an artificially intelligent humanoid android in writer-director Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, which also starred Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac. The plot follows tech CEO Nathan Bateman (Isaac), who invites programmer Caleb (Gleeson) to his luxurious compound to administer a Turing test to his robot, Vikander's character Ava, but things turn sour when Caleb learns of Nathan's ulterior intentions with his latest AI invention. A riveting look at the blurring lines between technology and humanity, Ex Machina was a hit with critics and a modest box office success, earning more than $36 million worldwide from a $15 million budget. It received two Oscar nominations, winning one (for Best Achievement in Visual Effects).  

"It plays like Frankenstein meets Blade Runner via Hitchcock haunted by the ghosts of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, in a film that's both highly literate and steeped in tense cat-and-mouse chills." — Rosie Fletcher, Total Film


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Mia Goth in 'Pearl'

A24

Pearl (2022)

Metascore: 73
Best for: Fans of offbeat, campy horror pastiches
Where to watch:

, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

M3GAN's campy tone and absurd premise echoes a growing trend of similarly off-the-wall horror movies, one of them being last year's Technicholor throwback Pearl. The sequel-prequel to Ti West's exploitation pastiche X, Pearl depicts the origin story of that film's antagonist (played by Mia Goth), a socially awkward aspiring actor whose yearning for a moment in the spotlight is inhibited by her restrictive mother. Made for only $1 million and shot back-to-back with X, Pearl was a strong success both commercially and online, with many of its scenes becoming widely circulated memes that deemed Goth a new scream queen. MAXXXINE, an upcoming sequel and the final installment in West's porno horror trilogy, is expected to come out sometime this year. 

"West's bold, stylish direction and brilliant use of color and shadow push Pearl into a whole different level of horror. Goth carries the picture with a bit of acting that is subtle and over-the-top at the same time. How? I don't know, but I know it works wonders." — Bobby LePire, Film Threat


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Elisabeth Moss in 'The Invisible Man'

Universal Pictures

The Invisible Man (2020)

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of monster movies with pertinent themes
Where to watch:

, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 124 minutes 

Back in early 2020, Leigh Whannell, a recurring collaborator with Wan, released a spooky reboot of the 1933 horror flick The Invisible Man, itself an adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel.Praised for its timely commentary on domestic violence and gaslighting, The Invisible Man starred Elisabeth Moss as a woman stalked by the ghost of her violent, controlling boyfriend (played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen). It was a huge critical and commercial triumph, raking in almost $145 million worldwide, before the COVID-19 pandemic cut its theatrical release short, leading Universal Pictures to release it digitally three weeks after its premiere.   

"Moss continues to deliver what we crave from woman characters: the kind of messy yet sturdy intricacy many of today's thinly conceived you-go-girl female superheroes continue to lack." — Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com


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'RoboCop'

Orion Pictures

RoboCop (1987)

Metascore: 70
Best for: Fans of violent, gory techno-thrillers with a satirical edge
Where to watch:

, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

Following in the footsteps of The Terminator's killer robot, Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop centers on a Detroit police officer (played by Peter Weller) who is murdered and then subsequently resurrected by a megacorporation as a cyborg law enforcer. The 1987 satirical thriller was acclaimed for its practical special effects, social critiques against then-president Ronald Reagan's policies, and deep philosophical meditations on corporate greed, authority, and the nature of humanity. It also proved to be an incredible success on the commercial front, earning $53.4 million against a $13.7 million budget. Similar to The Terminator, RoboCop led to a franchise of sequels, a TV show, and an equally profitable (though not quite as lauded) remake.

"RoboCop looks more than ever like Verhoeven's masterpiece, a classic of '80s Hollywood and apart from everything else a brilliant commentary on the city of Detroit; hi-tech RoboCop is a harbinger of the decline of the automotive industry and the ruin-porn wasteland to come." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


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Logan Marshall-Green in 'Upgrade'

OTL releasing

Upgrade

Metascore: 67
Best for: Fans of gleefully vicious revenge thrillers
Where to watch:

, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 100 minutes

Before he made The Invisible Man, Whannell wrote and directed Upgrade, an extremely gory sci-fi action thriller with a similar premise to RoboCop: Paralyzed after a mugging, an auto mechanic (played by Logan Marshall-Green) is implanted with a chip that allows him to move his body and rain hell on the men who murdered his wife. Another relatively low-budget film that made tons of money at the box office, Upgrade earned fans for its action sequences and dark humor.

"The triumph of a film like Upgrade, an unapologetic B-movie, is that it aims low and exceeds expectations." — Liam Lacey, Original Cin


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'Annabelle: Creation'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Annabelle: Creation

Metascore: 62
Best for: Fans of creepy, supernatural movies involving dolls
Where to watch:

, , Hulu, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 109 minutes

A prequel to 2014's Annabelle and the fourth chapter in The Conjuring universe, 2017's Annabelle: Creation improved upon its predecessor both critically and commercially. Garnering positive reviews and a healthy $306.5 million box office intake, the film from director David F. Sandberg depicts the origins of the titular haunted doll that was introduced in 2013's The Conjuring. The maker of the doll (played by Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife (played by Miranda Otto) open their home to a nun and several orphans, who soon become targets of the possessed doll's wrath.

"It's simply a treat to watch Sandberg's style on display in Annabelle: Creation, filled with circling dolly shots that reveal and conceal evil in torturously teasing ways, effective narrative use of practical lighting for dramatic effect, and heart-pounding sound effects and a score of screaming strings." — Katie Walsh, Chicago Tribune


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'Child's Play'

MGM

Child's Play (1988)

Metascore: 58
Best for: Fans of intense, slightly kooky slashers involving dolls
Where to watch:

, , HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 87 minutes

M3GAN's premise borrows quite a bit from Tom Holland's Child's Play, the 1988 supernatural slasher where a serial killer (Brad Dourif) transfers his soul into a talking red-haired doll named Chucky. A widowed mother (Catherine Hicks) unknowingly buys Chucky for her lonely son (Alex Vincent) for his birthday and inevitably, Chucky wreaks havoc once awakened. Despite receiving a poor reception at test screenings and mixed reviews, Child's Play won the box office during its first weekend and collected $44.2 million worldwide. The film cemented the evil Chucky as one of the most recognizable horror villains in American cinema and has gained a cult following since its release. Child's Play also spawned numerous sequels, a TV series on SyFy, and a 2019 reboot starring Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry.   

"A cheerfully energetic horror film of the slam-bang school, but slicker and more clever than most, about an evil doll named Charles Lee Ray, or Chucky." —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times 


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Annabelle Wallis in 'Malignant'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Malignant (2021)

Metascore: 51
Best for: Fans of eccentric, shlocky creepfests with fun twists and turns
Where to watch:

, , HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 111 minutes

M3GAN screenwriter Akela Cooper also wrote this 2021 horror flick from director Wan about a troubled woman named Madison (Annabelle Wallis) who begins experiencing visions of murdering people only to realize they're happening in real life. Despite bombing at the box office and garnering mixed reviews, Malignant has developed a niche cult following, especially for its freaky, wild twist that reveals the cause of Madison's hallucinations. 

"Malignant might not hold up to scrutiny but by the time all its mysteries are revealed, it's clear that it was never supposed to. It's an absurdly entertaining frightfest with a heavy emphasis on the absurd, and thank heaven — or hell — for it." — William Bibiani, The Wrap