Child’s Play (2019)

This was a bittersweet film to watch. As an avid fan of the Child’s Play franchise, it’s been interesting to see how it has evolved over the years from the generic horror slasher in the first three films to experimental (and not always successful) horror comedy in the next two films to a reboot of two films starring Brad Dourif’s daughter, Fiona Dourif, as a paraplegic who’s life is torn to shreds in extra gory installments. Now forward to 2019 and we see Orion Pictures going ahead with a reboot unapproved by the film’s creator, Don Mancini, which further caused Brad Dourif to drop out from the iconic role to star in Mancini’s upcoming Child’s Play TV show. Instead we are given Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky which was always going to be a great choice as Hamill is a fantastic voice actor (the Joker in the Batman TV series and Sunsnatcher in Brigsby Bear are personal highlights).

Giving the film a clean slate and a new backstory, this 2019 reboot brings Chucky into the 21st century. When a Vietnamese factiry worker is cruelly given the boot, he programs the Buddi doll he is building to have no inhibitions and no violence indiciators, meaning that the doll will be capable of anything. This doll finds it way into the life of Andy (Gabriel Bateman), a teenager who has just moved into a new city with his mum (played by Aubrey Plaza). The name is changed from Good Guy to Buddi (with a wifi signal above the i) and the doll can connect wirelessly to other devices in the house such a televisions, music players and the lights. There is a way to track the doll itself through an app on a phone. This remake could have easily been illogical and cheesy but the updates feel relevant for the time period with Andy, even referring to the older model he is gifted with as a “little kid’s toy”.

There is a lot to like about this film. An interesting aspect that makes it stand out is that Chucky genuinely wants to make Andy happy but he goes about this in a violent manner and misinterprets what Andy wants. On scene in particular that stands out is when Chucky observes as Andy and his new friends watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The teens laugh as the characters in the film are killed and torn to shreds, making Chucky believe that Andy wants this to happen in real life and tries to kill one of his friends. The film spends its first act building the characters of Andy and Chucky and the killing spree that follows doesn’t feel forced.

I’d be interested to see if they make a sequel from this one because it was enjoyable to watch and was a good combination of horror and comedy. Hamill’s performance was brilliant as ever and Aubrey Plaza is great in her role as Karen. Karen is clearly broken by the situation of having to move and poor financial circumstance but she tries to keep it together for sake of her son. Plaza isn’t in the film as much as I would have liked but maybe they’ll cast her in a sequel.

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