Child’s Play (2019) Review

Child’s Play

Horror remakes are nothing new in Hollywood. In the early 2000s, we’ve had a kind of rebirth when it came to horror remakes. Films such as The RingThe GrudgeTexas Chainsaw MassacreFriday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street populated much of the 2000s. With the rise of The Conjuring franchise though, horror remakes have died down significantly. Yet every now and then, we get a remake that Hollywood just can’t pass up. This time, it’s the cult classic Child’s Play that’s getting the remake treatment. But is Child’s Play one of those rare remakes that improve on the original or is it just like any other soulless remake?

Child’s Play is a decent remake with a lot of fun and intriguing ideas. Unfortunately, the film is a hot pot of a lot of films which results in a convoluted and unbalanced mess.

Child’s Play follows Karen who gifts her son, Andy, the world’s most popular toy: The Buddi doll. Unfortunately, Andy finds that the doll isn’t your typical Buddi doll.

Child’s Play - Aubrey Plaza & Gabriel Bateman

Unlike the Platinum Dunes horror remakes, Child’s Play isn’t necessarily a “remake”. Instead, it’s more of a contemporary reimagining of the entire franchise. In other words, think of this more like the Ghostbusters remake than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre one. It doesn’t make any references to the original nor does it even follow the same storyline as the original. Yes, the core concept of a killer doll is there but this interpretation is different. There’s no serial killer in this one, just an extremely high-tech robot doll.

These changes actually make Chucky into a sympathetic character. He’s not evil from the get-go. Instead, he’s nurtured into this killer mindset. At the same time, Chucky is insanely loyalty to Andy too. Now, if that sounds awfully familiar to Toy Story then you’d be right. Child’s Play is the complete antithesis to Toy Story and Chucky is the complete antithesis to Woody too. It’s kind of makes sense why this film is coming out on the same weekend as Toy Story 4. It doesn’t make sense box office wise, but it does make sense when you compare the two films.

Toy Story isn’t the only source of inspiration in this film. In fact, Child’s Play actually mixes a couple of films together. Attack the Block, Chappie, and Saw are just some of the films that inspired parts of Child’s Play. There’s even a not-so-subtle nod to Star Wars as well. Unfortunately, taking the best parts of these films doesn’t quite help the film out in any way. This imbalance actually convolutes the film and makes the film extremely predictable. In addition, there’s very little character progression in this film as well.

That’s too bad since the ideas and themes of Child’s Play are quite intriguing. It provides a good social commentary on society’s attraction to making everything “smart”. Technology is amazing, but to what point do we let it overtake our lives. That’s the point that this film is trying to make. Sadly, the execution of this idea is handled so poorly.

Child’s Play - Brian Tyree Henry

Much like Toy Story, this is Andy and Chucky’s film. There may be a ton of characters in this film but the film primarily revolves around Andy and Chucky. Both of their downward spirals are entertaining to watch. Yet there are many stretches where it just feels like filler. Scenes that reintroduces characters to remind the audience that “hey, we’re in this film too!”

That means that Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry barely make an impression in this film. There are instances where Henry might be the one character that continually steals the show but that’s sadly not the case. Also, Plaza doesn’t give a performance that makes her seem like a mother. She is more believable as an older sister who’s taking care of her younger brother after their parents died than a single mother taking care of her kid.

On the other hand, Gabriel Bateman plays the character with such vigor and gusto. Sure, there are times where his acting is a bit sketchy. However, once he starts going down that spiral then he becomes more intriguing. At the same time, Mark Hamill does an awesome job as Chucky. That’s not to say that his voice is iconic as Brad Dourif, but this Hamill’s voice is perfect as this iteration of Chucky. It’s a warm and friendly voice which pulls you into the doll. A really, really odd and ugly looking doll.

Overall, Child’s Play is a decent remake of the original cult classic. Did studios need to remake this film? No, not really. Yet the ideas and concepts were too intriguing to keep on the shelf. Unfortunately, the final product doesn’t quite reach the same level as its own concept. That being said, the film is not a total trainwreck and it’s way better film than you expect it to be. There will be enough laughs and engaging moments to entertain audiences.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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