Child’s Play (2019)

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Be careful what you say to Alexa because you never know when your Amazon virtual assistant may take it the wrong way.

I just watched the original Child’s Play a few months ago in preparation for the release of the new rebooted version from director Lars Klevburg.  I enjoyed the original Child’s Play, but I did not feel the need to watch all of the other sequels that followed it.

The new version of Child’s Play was fine.  I liked it.  Some of the changes that they made did not wind up bothering me because I did not have the deep connection to the series as other may have had.  I can understand, however, why some people might be unhappy with the film.

Karen (Aubrey Plaza) picks up one of the Buddi dolls for her son, Andy (Gabriel Bateman) to help ease the transition from moving into a new place.  Andy has trouble making friends and she believes that the doll would help his spirits.  Little did she know that the doll was defective (sort of) and was sentient.  Naming himself Chucky (Mark Hamill), the doll bonds quickly with Andy a little too closely.

Chucky is an iconic figure in horror movies, and some people are not happy with the new look of the doll.  Another aspect that many people disapprove of is the fact that this Chucky is no longer possessed by the serial killer, and is instead technology turning on the human race.  Sure we have seen that all the time, but neither of these differences cause an issue for me.

The movie knew what it wanted to be.  There was a definite cheesy part of the film, and that makes sense, since this is a killer doll.  There should not be a full out dramatic version of Chucky.  However, there were some times when the cheese factor may have gone a bit too far and felt out of place, especially when dealing with the other kids in Andy’s neighborhood.

I do like the motivation of this Chucky.  Whereas the original film’s character was being motivated by this killer spirit to become human again, the new Chucky is motivated by the relationship with Andy.  He wanted to protect Andy and to be the whole world to Andy.  Chucky did not want to share his “best friend forever” with anyone else and that feeling of loneliness and drive for connection is something that  everyone can relate with.

Mark Hamill is one of our generations greatest voice actors and his new turn as Chucky is as great as you would expect it to be.  Hamill’s voice portrayal helps to create the creepiness of the character in the new movie.

I also really loved the work of Gabriel Bateman as Andy.  The young kid had a lot of this movie placed on his shoulders and he came through like a champion.  You can see the conflict within Andy as these horrible things begin to happen and how he does not know what to do.  His fear and pain feels real and well done.

The aspect of the doll being an AI works very well when Chucky is able to interface with other technological items and use them against his victims.  This helps with one of the film’s main themes of how technology can control our lives and puts into a danger of becoming too enthralled.  The film also has some things to say about consumers and their attempt to grab the newest thing, even if it is bad for them.  The third act brings back memories of Jingle All the Way.

The film is very bloody and has some seriously gory scenes.  It certainly earned its R rating.  I found that there were less times in this movie where I would be thinking, “This is just a doll, destroy it” to the people Chucky was attacking.  I had those thoughts many times in the original so that says that the kill scenes were reasonably well done to me.

I enjoyed the relationship between Andy and his mom.  It felt like a real relationship.  I enjoyed the scenes involving Detective Mike Norris (Brian Tyree Henry), especially his interactions with Andy and Mike’s own mother Doreen (Carlease Burke).

There were several relationships that either did not work or were weaker than these ones.  I already mentioned the other kids in the neighborhood and all of them are simply one-note characters there for background.  The only exception I would make is Beatrice Kitsos who played Falyn.  This character was intriguing but they never really dive into what makes her special.  She is visually appealing.  Then, Karen’s boyfriend, Shane (David Lewis) was a terrible character with little redeeming qualities at all.  He was there to be the conflict with Andy and not much else.

The film was quick and short (90 minutes) and it moved by quickly.  I was reasonably entertained by Child’s Play and I was not offended by the changes from the original.  It is not the best horror movie of the year and I do not think it is trying to be.  I think it is trying to be a fun and tense film with a heavy dose of creepiness.  While it is far from perfect, the new Child’s Play succeeds in what it is trying to be.

3.5 stars

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