Review for Child's Play (2019)
Child’s Play is a reboot of the classic Horror franchise and Chucky is back to play and cause a new generation to fear their dolls. The Kaslan company have launched a high-tech doll called the Buddi. This is almost a Siri/Alexa type product which connects to every device in the house and can move, walk and talk. In the factory where they are being built a disgruntled worker disabled all one of the doll’s security and safety features and ships it out and it ends up in Chicago.
Here, Karen an overworked single Mum picks him up as a ‘defected product’ and give it to her son Andy as an early birthday present. At first Andy likes Chucky, despite his clear flaws and ability to swear. He makes friends with two other kids Falyn and Pugg and they all use Chucky to scare his Mum’s vile boyfriend. However, Chucky begins to like the exposure to violence and ends up helping Andy ‘take care’ of him and others a bit too much. This leads to all out chaos as the kids try to stop Chucky’s murderous spree before he is able to infect all the Buddi’s in a mass, mall massacre.
Now I was never a huge fan of the Child’s a play franchise and so this reboot didn’t offend me as much as it did others. My issue with this film is that it is basically the plot of Small Soldiers. Toys get reprogrammed and go bad. People keep saying this is a commentary on how AI has become too prevalent to the point we can’t even switch on our lights without an App or Alexa doing it for us. This is true and that aspect is quite creepy with one of the characters even commenting how this is how every Robot Apocalypse movie starts.
Once the violence starts the issue I have is that most of the people or things Chucky kills deserve it to some degree and it can be argued Chucky is just doing this to help the boy out. The tone of the film is all over the place and at times I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be scared. Of course this raises a lot of issues, the film is not funny enough to be a comedy and not scary enough to be a horror. This is a shame as the Mum played by Aubrey Plaza is so perfect with comedy as April in Parks and Rec, but just has nothing to work with. Mark Hamill is perfect as the voice of Chucky (despite the fact for most of the film I thought it was Tony Hale, who was the voice of Forky from Toy Story 4) and he is oddly charming throughout, but this is not enough to make the film entertaining and sadly it falls a little flat at times.
Special Features includes a solo commentary by Director Lars Klemberg. My opinion on solo commentaries is that they are either perfect with the person filling every single with information (e.g. Coppola on The Godfather films) or dry and boring. This is the latter. Though he clearly enjoyed making the film and had lots to talk about, I would have preferred to have heard from others or for him to talk to others about other aspects of the film.
There is a short Making of which goes through the basics of the film and why and how it was made. Bringing Child's Play's Chucky to Life is a good little extra on how the puppet was created and I do wish there was more of this.
There is a rather short and pointless Gallery with a few shots from the film and a Trailer for the soundtrack which was an odd music video of the main theme and a great Trailer for the film which is much better at scaring than the film is.
Finally, there are two Claymation shorts by Lee Hardcastle featuring Chucky: Toy Massacre and AI Mayhem. Both are horrifying and I seriously would not recommend watching either. I’m not sure why they are here and at first I thought they were test footage or something, but they just appear to be a way to see how much goes with Claymation you can get away with. I don’t know why anyone would want to see this.
Child’s Play should have been a great reboot to this franchise, but it feels like whoever made it really latched on to the idea that this film should be a comedy. By doing this, it almost ignored a key scene in the film where th children are openly laughing at the OTT gore of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The reason they are laughing is not because it is funny, it is because it is so absurd to believe it is real. This film should have went one way or the other. It did not take either to the extreme and because of that both aspects of the film did not work. If you are a fan of the original series, you may enjoy some of the moments and the effects and performance by Hammill is great. It is just a shame as I really thought this remake of the classic was going to be fun to play with.