Child's Play 2019 review
It's been a strange weekend. This has to be the only time in which two toy-based movies have been released. One being the family friendly Toy Story 4and the other being the horror comedy, Child's Play. The good news is that there's a crowd that's going to see one over the other. Where does Child's Play fall for me? Not too high. I've seen the original Child's Play and thought it was enjoyable, but no horror classic. Yes, I liked the story of a killer using voodoo to transfer his soul into a doll and goes on a killing spree. But again, it's about a killer doll. There's not a lot "great" you can do with it.
I'm also aware of its large fan base (given all the sequels it's made, it’s doing something right) and how much they like Chucky and his personality. I think it steams back to the fantasy of toys coming to life. A lot of toys can seem cute when your younger, but appear creepy when you look at it with adult eyes. This where the horror spin comes in and tries to have fun with it. Child's Play is another remake that tries to retell the story in a new light.
Instead of voodoo magic and a serial killer, we have an A.I. robot. A computer company, Kaslan Industries, is about to launch it's new line of toys called the "Buddi" which learns according to it's owner. One owner is a young woman Karen (played by Aubrey Plaza) who works a minuscule retail job to try to give her son Andy (played by Gabriel Bateman) a normal life as possible. She gives one of the returned "Buddi" dolls to Andy for his birthday where they play around with what it can do and how it adapts based on his emotions.
The more Andy plays with him the "Buddi" doll he names Chucky (played by Mark Hamill), the more Chucky appears to have a violent tendency. Chucky even grows jealous when Andy starts to play with other kids his own age. Things start to appear from dead cats, dead neighbors, and even human faces. Andy is aware of what's going on, but has no clue how to show it (would anyone believe you if you screamed about a killer toy). But now that Chucky is connected to several other Kaslan Industries products (other toys, computers, self driving cars, etc…), things may prove more dangerous then ever.
While Child's Play was no classic, I too knew that a remake was going to be tough, given Chucky's cult status. The good news is that it's a rare remake that is both enjoyable and separates itself enough to make it it's own thing. Is it better then the original? That depends on what your looking for. First of all, making the toy an A.I. robot is both a pro and a con. The best thing about is that because of his connectivity to other systems, this allows for more creative kills and weapons to use on his victims.
The negative is that Chucky isn't as scary as before. While the movie does a good job letting the toy learn for itself and eventually develop into the personality of a killer, it's still a robot. One of the reasons Brad Dourif was terrifying and funny was because as a doll that had the soul of another person, that gave it a personality that was still human. Mark Hamill, though giving it his all with another chilling voice, is limited by the range as he's playing a robot. It's only scary as long as you know he can only kill. I find it scarier when it kills because he enjoys it for his reasons and not because the programing is screwed up.
What about the rest of the movie? I liked it. This knows right away that along with being a horror, this is a comedy. Any movie with Aubrey Plaza as a young mother would have to be a comedy. A lot of humor comes from her, her son and his new friends, and even with the commentary about technology becoming obsolete due to faster innovation and constant software updates.
I'll give this four new Chucky dolls out of five. Child's Play did the right thing by trying it's hardest to separate itself from the original. It'll never be anything great (it's about a killer doll), but I had a good time. Fans of the original will probably like this fine. Just watch out for the eyes… it can look creepy…