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Why M3GAN Needed to Be PG-13

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Blumhouse’s latest horror film, M3GAN, was originally gorier and bloodier, but director Gerard Johnstone says the PG-13 cut is actually scarier.

Blumhouse’s latest horror film, M3GAN, was initially intended to be much gorier and bloodier, but director Gerard Johnstone revealed that after a series of reshoots to go for a PG-13 rating, the film is actually much scarier.

During a chat with Total Film, Johnstone said the idea to go for a PG-13 rating came after the film’s original cut and during reshoots to tone down the rating. The director 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.”

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Written by Akela Cooper from a story by Cooper and James Wan, M3GAN follows a robotics engineer at a toy company named Gemma (Allison Williams) that builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own. While speaking on the PG-13 rating further, Johnstone said that the power of suggestion was much more effective when it came to certain scenes. The director said, “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.”

Who Is M3GAN?

After building M3GAN, which is short for Model 3 Generative Android, Gemma gives the doll to her newly orphaned niece, Cady (Violet McGraw), after the tragic death of her sister and brother-in-law. Gemma is preoccupied with work and notices that Cady is extremely lonely, so she programs M3GAN to “protect Cady from harm, both physical and emotional.” While the programming seems innocent enough, M3GAN begins to dispatch anyone that she feels is a threat to young Cady.

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Bringing M3GAN to life on the big screen has been shrouded in a bit of mystery. To maintain the secrecy of the film, the cast and crew are forbidden from revealing if the doll was portrayed by a real actor or not. Johnstone said they took a “multi-tiered approach” to create the character. All of this secrecy has only increased the profile of M3GAN following two effective trailers that made a splash when they were released online. Blumhouse appears to believe in the film’s potential success as the movie was pushed up a week earlier on the release schedule to avoid competition from House Party and the wide release of A Man Called Otto.

M3GAN hits screens on Jan. 6.

Source: Total Film, via GamesRadar+

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