There are some horror fans who seem to be upset that the upcoming sci-fi thriller M3GAN – which reaches theatres on January 6th – has been given a PG-13 rating, feeling that the movie would be better if it sported an R. But while speaking with Total Film and Games Radar+, director Gerard Johnstone (Housebound) said he thinks the reshoots they did to make sure the movie would secure a PG-13 actually made scenes more disturbing.
Johnstone said, “Making it PG-13 was something that happened after the fact, but it was always so close to PG-13 anyway. It seemed kind of a mistake not to embrace it. I even remember thinking early on, ‘This could be PG-13, and some of my favorite films like Drag Me to Hell are PG-13.’ So we made the decision to go PG-13 and actually reshot a couple of things. What I was really stoked about is that when we reshot those scenes, they were more effective. It’s like ‘Yes, you do have to cut away at certain times’ but it’s fun having to rely on sound and suggestion so much.“
Johnstone mentioned a scene involving M3GAN and a vicious dog as an example of this. “I remember turning to my sound designer after a re-do and just saying, ‘Holy shit, that’s worse.’ We were trying to get this PG-13 rating and I was like, ‘That is so much worse than what we had before.’” And by “worse” he means better, because it will be more troublesome for viewers.
Based on a story crafted by producer James Wan, M3GAN was scripted by Akela Cooper (Malignant). The film has the following synopsis:
She’s more than just a toy. She’s part of the family.
From the most prolific minds in horror — James Wan, the filmmaker behind the Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring franchises, and Blumhouse, the producer of the Halloween films, The Black Phone and The Invisible Man — comes a fresh new face in terror.
M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a life-like doll programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by brilliant toy-company roboticist Gemma, M3GAN can listen and watch and learn as she becomes friend and teacher, playmate and protector, for the child she is bonded to. When Gemma suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady, Gemma’s unsure and unprepared to be a parent. Under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems — a decision that will have unimaginable consequences.
Allison Williams (Get Out), Violet McGraw (The Haunting of Hill House), Ronny Chieng (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Brian Jordan Alvarez (Will & Grace), Jen Van Epps (Cowboy Bebop), Lori Dungey (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), and Stephane Garneau-Monten (Straight Forward) star.
A collaboration between Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, and Atomic Monster, in association with Divide/Conquer, M3GAN was produced by James Wan and Jason Blum. Williams serves as executive producer alongside Mark Katchur, Ryan Turek, Michael Clear, Judson Scott, Adam Hendricks, and Greg Gilreath.
Are you looking forward to M3GAN, even though it has a PG-13 rating? Let us know by leaving a comment below. I think the rating is fine for a movie about a killer AI that has become a Tiktok sensation with her dance moves. This was clearly never going to be as dark or gritty as something like the original, R-rated Child’s Play. And like Johnstone said, Drag Me to Hell was PG-13 and it’s awesome.