I had the liberty of checking out Child’s Play, the remake and reboot of the 1988 film. To be honest I thought it was odd to see this greenlit once I heard that the creators behind the original had nothing to do with this recreation. Yet I wasn’t surprised because Hollywood likes regurgitating things for the sake of a buck. Another thing was that not only are they still in the midst of carrying on the original series with future straight-to-video releases but there have been talks about a series.
But in the age of remakes especially horror flicks, it wasn’t long before America’s favorite killer doll would be reimagined and in this case rebranded! And boy oh boy does Chucky have quite the new look. Honestly it’s creepy but not in a scary way more like weird. His look is a cool blend of CGI and practical stuff. Looking back at the shit that kids played with when I was a kid, I have no doubt in my mind an idea like this would actually be believable.
Oh and this review has spoilers…so if you haven’t seen it….
The movie follows characters, Karen (Aubrey Plaza), a single mother and her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) who gets a Buddi doll as an early birthday gift. Although Karen is pretty much aware of Chucky’s malfunctioning features, both her and her son disregard them. After moving to a new city, Karen encourages Andy to make friends, although like most kids now, he spends it alone on his phone.
Chucky despite his oddities is a seemingly innocent Buddi doll that becomes Andy’s best friend. This Chucky is voiced by Mark Hamill instead of the iconic Brad Douriff we’ve all known. But Hamill much like all of his voice acting work, is amazing. I dig how his voice goes from innocent to frightening by the 3rd act, even though he doesn’t even yell.
Eventually, Andy befriends some actual human teens and this is where things with Chucky who just so happens to be self aware, take a turn for the worse. Chucky turns from protective guardian and friend to a jealous psycho. It’s played out well enough that you almost forget that he’s a doll with a CPU that’s actually still learning.
This movie is pretty much what you expect from a horror movie about a killer doll and it pretty much knows it. I like that they didn’t go out of the way to make it super dark and ominous like Annabelle or **cough** Justice League!! The movie has some decent amounts of gore and the kills earn its R rating. I love the dynamic between Andy and his mom. It feels authentic. Heck I even buy the shitty boyfriend that Andy hates. However as enjoyable as Andy’s friends are, they are rather cliche horror tropes for kids. Despite their Stranger Things friendship attempt at the end, they don’t have the strongest character build up. The cop, Det. Mike and his mother are my favs. But with the exception of Andy and his mom, I pretty much sat there waiting for them to get offed.
There are some major differences between this and the original.
The dolls in this version are coined Buddi dolls and not Good Guy dolls. They are a computerized, self-aware, self-learning AI sort of like Alexa. In the original, the dolls are simply animatronic with a few pre-recorded phrases. In the reboot, Chucky is a malfunctioning device at best, which is the result of a malicious worker turning off all safety protocols. In the original, Chucky is possessed by the soul of a serial killer. In this flick, Chucky is overprotective of Andy. In the original, Chucky wants Andy’s body.
There are various similarities between the two movies such as “the boy crying wolf” plot that both Andy characters deal with because no one will believe them. What works in this film is that Andy is older and less whiny. I won’t lie baby Andy in the original was annoying.
Chucky’s origin feels lazy to me. The fact that this random worker does this to the doll while it’s in the factory feels like they took the easy way out. In the original, although we don’t see much of Charles Lee Ray in human form, we do see the tension and suspense behind him possessing the doll. This quick beginning is panned out well in the first act where we don’t know if it’s the doll or Andy.
That’s not to say that fans of the original won’t like this film. Despite it’s beginnings and flaws, it’s a decent horror flick and it’s enjoyable. You see Chucky & Andy’s friendship form and deteriorate. And that’s when shit gets crazy, especially in the third act.
Overall this reboot isn’t bad. I don’t know if it’ll be a cult classic or will restart the entire franchise with a sequel or 2. However, it’s not a complete waste of time and it’s not a waste of money. Not horrible. Not amazing but not bad either. Mark Hamill does a great job voicing Chucky. The kid who plays Andy is good. Nostalgic fans won’t be pissed and horror fans will be entertained.
It’s kinda Awesome
Til Later Kiddies,
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