New horror-comedy M3gan is out this week, and while it’s an excellent cautionary tale in its own right about the dangers of technology, the thing that has driven the internet into meltdown is a five second dance routine by the film’s robotic psychopath M3gan.
The titular robot is an AI housed in the body of a robotic young girl who learns about humanity a little faster than her programmers anticipated and didn’t much like what she discovered.
As well as being able to hold life-like conversations, M3gan, it turns out, can also dance. Like really, really dance. During a murderous rampage through a toy company headquarters, the doll breaks out, apropos of nothing, into a creepy little routine that’s part Michael Jackson’s Thriller, part Tik Tok influencer.
When the footage was featured in a trailer the internet fell in love with the robot’s moves and social media sites – especially Tik Tok, home to the DIY dance routine – went into overdrive, filling up with tribute videos filmed by enthusiastic teens doing their own versions of the scene.
All dressed in the character’s trademark beige dress and pussycat bow, they mimicked the character’s creepy, jerky jig, amassing millions of views.
Realising they were on to a good thig, the studio paid dancers to do the routine at screenings and even sporting events to promote the movie, which seems like shrewd business.
But having seen the movie for ourselves, does the M3gan dance live up to all the hype?
Well – yes. For a five-second dance, it’s certainly one of the more lively moments in an already thrilling movie. What makes it all the more astonishing is that it comes out of nowhere – M3gan has never given any indication that she can dance, and the scene isn’t “dance appropriate” coming in a nondescript hallway as she prepares to execute a corporate shill.
The dance highlights all the Uncanny Valley aspects of M3gan that the film already leans into – she jerks and shimmies in utterly unhuman ways, appearing to break her bones as she does it, only to snap back into shape, horrifying her victim in his last moments.
And then it’s finished, never to be mentioned or even alluded to again in the movie, which we’ll be reviewing later in the week.