M3GAN took the world by storm this January, a rare horror movie release that garnered a $30 million opening weekend, totalling $130 million worldwide. The clever premise of bringing back the killer doll genre in a new and creative way garned many solid reviews and high praise. The only problem viewers had with the film was that it sometimes seemed tame. However, the horror movie does a fantastic job of pushing the chaos of the situation to the brink but stopping before going overboard. Many felt that this was the fault of the PG-13 rating, but how different is the unrated version of M3GAN from the theatrical release?
The unrated version of M3GAN is now available for streaming on Peacock. It is similar to the PG-13 version released in theatres, but the changes (and there are a few) still pack a punch.
One of the most significant differences between the two is the language that is permitted in the unrated version. The PG-13 theatrical release only featured a couple of f***s and profanity here and there. In contrast, the unrated version features about a dozen. Most are there to make Ronny Chieng’s character, David, more annoying. Still, one is a very well-timed f-bomb by the killer doll, M3GAN herself, to add to the climax of the situation. It isn’t quite Chucky’s level of profanity, but M3GAN is still giving the king of doll horror a run for his money.
The difference in gore is another noticeable change between the two versions, with the blood flowing much more freely than in the PG-13 version. Luckily, the director, Gerard Johnstone, decided to leave that awful scene with the dog as it was. Still, the three main killing scenes let you see more gore, not cutting away from the action while not going too over the top.
Surprisingly, the unrated version of M3GAN was a few seconds shorter than the theatrical version, which no one expected with the added gore. However, it turns out that it was faster because, with the gore, there was no need for extra time for suspense when cutting away from the gory scenes.
Many viewers asked the same question: why did the director decide to make M3GAN PG-13 rated? It seems like an odd choice for a horror movie, but it has worked in their favour for this one. Director Gerard Johnstone implied that the PG-13 rating made the movie scarier than if they had left it unrated.
The decision came after the fact but was an easy adjustment because M3GAN was so close to PG-13 anyway, hence why there is little difference between the two versions. Johnstone shared that some of his favourite horror movies, like Drag me to Hell, were PG-13 as well, so it wasn’t intimidating. He genuintely felt that after reshooting some scenes, they were more effective than the original. He and his sound designer agreed that it was more fun to rely on sound and suggestion to drive the horror than open gore. “I remember turning to my sound designer after a re-do and just saying, ‘Holy s**t, 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.'”
To everyone’s delight and surprise, they have already announced a sequel, titled M3GAN 2.0, that is set for release on January 17th, 2025. Allison Williams and Violet McGraw will be reprising their roles as Gemma (the robot-building aunt) and Cady (the orphan girl who received the doll), respectively. Akela Cooper will also be returning as the screenwriter.
The unrated version has quite a bit more swearing, but the movie doesn’t go overboard.
There is much more gore than in the original, which didn’t even show blood.
Surprisingly, the unrated version is a few seconds shorter, not longer.