Prime Video movie of the day: M3GAN is Verhoeven-lite satirical horror that I could not have loved more

M3GAN and Cady reading a book in the movie M3GAN
(Image credit: Blumhouse / Universal Pictures)

Do you love a fun, schlocky horror? Would you like that horror even more if it had a surprisingly thoughtful satirical edge? I knew I was going to get on famously with Prime Video's M3GAN – the story of an advanced, murderous robot designed to play with children – from literally the first scene, which opens with a fake advert that could be straight out of Robocop. This movie's tongue is pushed so far into its cheek, it's at risk of bursting straight through and out the other side – a vision M3GAN herself would no doubt enjoy, given some of the other things she does to people's faces.

The story follows Cady, an eight-year-old girl whose parents have been killed in a tragic accident. She goes to live with her aunt, Gemma (Get Out's Alison Williams), who happens to work at a techy toy company. Gemma brings home her controversial new project, a life-size tween girl robot named M3GAN with a generative AI brain tuned for befriending and playing with other girls. M3GAN and Cady get on famously – so famously, in fact, that M3GAN rapidly decides to use her robot strength and cunning to dispose of anyone who threatens Cady's happiness.

It's got inventive kills, it's got comedy moments, and it's also got a genuinely considered and meaningful train of thought throughout, about how wise it is to rely on the likes of Alexa and iPads to amuse and teach kids, and what that does to their sense of attachment and understanding of who and what is important in the world.

I absolutely loved it, and it ranks among the best Prime Video movies for me personally, though I appreciate that not everyone is as enamored of its mix of lighter horror and satire that isn't so much winking at you slapping you right on the shoulder and going 'did you see that??'. But then, people found the satire of Paul Verhoeven too subtle in Starship Troopers, somehow, and given a clear influence from his movies on this one, I can't blame M3GAN for going hard for effect.

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Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.