M3GAN Has So Much Nerve That It Doesn’t Need An R-Rating

Would have it provided a fun, nasty, visceral thrill to watch Celia’s face melt off? Perhaps. Gore is not always to be eschewed, and, ever since the glory days of Herschell Gordon Lewis, there is always going to be a place in cinema for buckets of blood, shock, and quivering human viscera. Gore and violence can be exhilarating, especially in a horror context, and there is a part inside all of us that takes pleasure in watching someone getting their head torn off, their ribcage removed, or their brains splattering on a sidewalk. 

But even so, not seeing the gore — or perhaps seeing just a little — can be more straightforwardly terrifying. Sometimes it’s the act of violence itself that is shocking enough, even without buckets of blood. The most notable kill in “M3GAN” comes when Cady, previously homeschooled, takes a tour of a calming, outdoor private school for troubled kids. During the tour, Cady is targeted by a tall, evil child who aims to hurt other kids. The bully child steals M3GAN and flees into the woods to smash her with a rock. M3GAN, in a flash, shifts into “kill mode,” and pulls off his ear (!). There isn’t a spray of blood, but M3GAN does casually flip the ear over her shoulder. She then unhinges her elbows, and runs after the now-fleeing bully like a tiger, chasing him to a nearby road where he is creamed by a car. 

The filmmakers could have included a scene where audiences see the child mashed into the front grill of a GMC, but tastefully left it out. Instead, all we see is one of the child’s errant shoes skittering along the road after the car. 

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