A young mother gives her son a high-tech doll for his birthday,
but the doll has a very different meaning of friendship.
Child's Play (2019)
Directed by Lars Klevberg
Written by Tyler Burton Smith
Starring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson, David Lewis, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio
Remake of 1988's Child's Play
I gotta admit, I did not have very high hopes for Child's Play, and my instincts turned out to be correct. This updated remake for a modern audience abandons everything that made the original Child's Play such a memorable cult favorite. The serial killer/voodoo angle is cut in favor of a "Siri gone bad" storyline that fails to inject Chucky with personality, his one defining attribute. And that's not a jab at Mark Hamill's performance, which is decent enough but doesn't hold a candle to Brad Dourif. This is a story problem plain and simple. And a design problem. I couldn't believe that Chucky looked more realistic and toy-like in the original.
The story is roughly the same as before, with Andy (Gabriel Bateman) getting a Buddi doll named Chucky from his mother (Aubrey Plaza). Only Chucky, unlike the rest of the toy line, has had its safety features removed by a disgruntled sweat shop worker (seriously, that's the jumping-off point), so it's learning on its own. And what it learns is that nothing can stand in the way of true friendship, so anything standing between Chucky and Andy has to die. The kills are grisly and inventive, but Chucky is missing his sarcastic wit and douchebag attitude that's made him a pop culture icon that's lasted over 30 years. It really hurts the movie, since he's the only reason people are interested in it.
I really wanted to be wrong about Child's Play, but the Hollywood machine ate up Don Mancini's horror classic and spat out this watered-down, millennial Chucky that's essentially Alexa with a butcher knife. None of the side characters get to shine like they have in the past, particularly Officer Mike Norris, leaving longtime fans disappointed and newcomers disinterested.