Child’s Play

It was only a matter of time before everyone’s favourite killer doll inevitably got his own reboot. Unlike the many other 80’s slasher remakes such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Friday the 13th remake, the Chucky timeline is still going on on VOD and going strong at that. The last two Chucky movies, Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky both have been well received and there is more to come from that timeline. So this is a bit of an odd remake to do. Child’s Play (2019) does away with the possessed doll by a serial killer and voodoo magic and replaces it with a much more timely story. The Buddi doll is an A.I. program that can connect with all your household electronic devices. When Andy gets a Buddi doll named Chucky as a gift, Chucky starts acting a little stranger than he should as violence and murder start to arise.

Child’s Play (2019) is a throwback movie to its 80’s slasher roots along with violent and gruesome deaths and a tongue in cheek tone. What really works about this movie is the violence, the lead actor played by Gabriel Bateman, and the movies self-aware nature of its subject matter. Child’s Play (2019) is about a child’s toy gone faulty and starts killing people and it knows not to take itself too seriously. This is a fun slasher movie that harkens back to the ’80s and reminds us of how fun it is to root for the bad guy sometimes. Child’s Play (1988) came out during a time when the Fredster and everyone’s favourite hockey mask wearing, machete wielding zombie ruled the horror scene. The 80’s made it fun for the audience to cheer for the killer and Chucky was no exception. Brad Dourif had more charisma as a serial killer trapped in the body of a doll then essentially anyone else in that original movie. Mark Hamill is an icon who has given numerous iconic performances over the years in both live-action and animation, Luke Skywalker and The Joker being of the most recognizable and beloved. And yet again he does a great job of taking over the reins from Dourif and making this his version of Chucky. I had no doubt that Mark Hamill wouldn’t deliver something that was sinister and unsettling and he didn’t disappoint.

Child’s Play (2019) doesn’t really feel like a Child’s Play movie. With that series, the voodoo aspect and Dourif’s performance were so essential to all of those movies storylines. The A.I. plot is a welcomed change for me and sets this remake apart from the original so it just doesn’t feel like another rehash of things seen before. Let’s be honest, the original Child’s Play is not a classic. It doesn’t even close to ranking up there with The Shining, The Thing, or Halloween. It’s a fun movie that I don’t hold on a pedestal. So changing the story this much doesn’t bother me one bit. I feel it still keeps the essence of the Child’s Play movies, so even for people who do hold that original with high regard won’t be too upset either. Chucky is an intelligent doll that can learn and interact with other electronic devices, but unlike the other Buddi dolls, Chucky is wired differently and can think for himself a little too freely.

Gabriel Bateman plays a much older Andy Barclay that at first writes off Chucky as a child’s toy, but soon takes a liking to him. Bateman really sold me on the relationship developed between Chucky and Andy. It made sense that this 13-year-old boy (if not older) would feel so connected to a doll. I was expecting to not like any of the characters in this movie, but I really grew to care for Andy and a lot of that has to do with surprisingly really good writing for his character and Bateman’s performance. I felt from the role the void in his life that drew him to the doll. In fact, quite a few characters I actually cared for during this film that when it came to some of them dying I was really upset. Brian Tyree Henry had a likability to his character and a cool and collected tone to himself that really draws your attention to him whenever he was on screen. The violence and gruesome deaths earn their R rating. These death scenes will not disappoint any horror fan. Each one was creative and didn’t hold back. Even when they did cut away from a death, whatever was implied serviced well enough or we’d get a good look at the aftermath of the carnage.

As with many slashers from the ’80s, Child’s Play (2019) is disposable. This type of movie can be a lot of fun to watch, maybe with a group of friends, it’s enjoyable for the time, but after it’s over, it just becomes forgettable. Maybe because a lot of these films are created for pure entertainment value and don’t have much to offer in the commentary side of things. These types of movies don’t challenge an audience, but instead goes for a simple enjoyable for the moment ride, but once it’s done you can forget about. Child’s Play (2019) doesn’t offer any fresh perspectives or leave the audience thinking. It’s made for a breezy fun time and it will be forgotten after it’s over. The movie also uses plotlines we’ve seen before, like the “mom’s boyfriend is a jerk” plotline or the “no one believes what actually is really going on” story. Some of the jokes and humor of the movie doesn’t land or I should say has a lingering effect over the rest of the movie. The humor is funny at the beginning of the movie and I see what they were going for with it, but once the horror aspect of the movie kicks into full gear, it’s a little hard to unsee the humorous aspects of the first act of the movie that now dampers the scare factor. Also, they do one of my least favourite types of jump scares. You know, the one where something not scary like a cat runs by or someone taps someone on the shoulder and a loud jolt of music kicks in. I hate those types of jump scares, and there are few in this movie and one really egregious one.

Overall, Child’s Play (2019) was a pleasant surprise that I didn’t expect to like at all and I wound up enjoying my time at theaters. Child’s Play (2019) is a fun horror movie that doesn’t take things too seriously with satisfying deaths and a surprisingly decent cast of characters. If you were thinking about seeing this movie but wasn’t sure, I’d recommend checking this movie out. As a horror fan myself, I had a good time with Child’s Play (2019).

Rating: B-

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