Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Movie Review: "Child's Play" (2019)

Movie poster for Orion Pictures and Bron Creative's latest horror movie Child's Play
Image Source
Director: Lars Klevberg
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

A defective artificially intelligent smart doll named Buddi goes on a murdering spree to try and please his new owner.

Andy, played by Gabriel Bateman, and Chuck, voiced by Mark Hamill, play a game together in the new horror film Child's Play
"I will never leave you." (Image Source)
The original "Child's Play" (1988) is a classic supernatural slasher that has spawned countless sequels over the years. The last installment, "Cult of Chucky," was released as recently as 2017, so one may wonder, why remake a movie that's still churning out sequels 30 years after its release? Luckily, writer Tyler Burton Smith and director Lars Klevberg have taken the familiar killer doll narrative and have made it their own. They've taken what used to be a supernatural serial killer slasher and have turned it into a modern-day sci-fi "technology gone wrong" horror. When a disgruntled factory worker removes all of the safety controls from an artificially intelligent Buddi smart doll, all hell breaks loose when Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza), a single mom who works at a big box department store, brings this defective doll (Mark Hammil) home to her 13-year-old son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) for his birthday.
Aubrey Plaza is scared for her life in a movie still for 2019's Child's Play remake
"Oh my god, I cannot escape this doll." (Image Source)
The design of the new Buddi doll in 2019's "Child's Play" is what we fear would happen if Alexa from Amazon's smart devices was designed to look like a living nightmare. Seriously, who would get one of these creepy monster looking toys for their child? If we've learned anything from watching movies, it's that artificially intelligent technology will always, without fail, fail, and start to murder people. This is a theme we've seen time and time again, and for some viewers, it may be tired at this point. For us, we think this new take on Chucky managed to work. Klevberg and Smith keep the same darkly comedic tone that was present in the original "Child's Play" series while simultaneously changing the story enough to set it apart from the 1988 classic. It explores themes of cognition, the mishandling of technology, jealousy, betrayal, vengeance, and of course, friendship...no matter how twisted the friendship may be. The most notable change in this film is its amped-up amount of gore, especially in the third act. We fully admit it goes a bit off the rails towards the end, but to tell you the truth, we sort of love watching A.I. dolls come to life to slice-and-dice the human overlords who created (and some who mistreated) them. Many fans may be totally and utterly attached to Brad Dourif's voice performance as Charles Lee Ray, aka Chucky, but we think Mark Hamill holds his own in the role. As Chucky, he brings a conniving high-tech innocence and an unnerving undertone to his voice that is sweet at first but gets creepier and more sinister as time goes on. When Chucky sings "The Buddi Song" (You are My Buddy), it sent an awkward shiver down our spines as we were forced to listen to him coyly and nightmarishly sing Andy his devotional lullaby. Gabriel Bateman does a great job as Andy, a lonely kid trying to find his place in his new surroundings. Aubrey Plaza was a solid choice to play his mother Karen, a woman who is too busy trying to keep them afloat and someone who is too caught up in drowning her own sorrows to notice when shit's hit the fan until it's too late. We love Brian Tyree Henry and are happy to see his career thriving. Here, he provides a lot of comedic relief as Mike, Andy and Karen's down-the-hall neighbor/police detective who tries to take the obviously wounded, obviously outcast Andy under his wing.
Chucky from Child's Play with glowing red eyes
"Nobody steals my best friend." (Image Source)
We wound up having a really good time watching the "Child's Play" remake, which we think provided a gory and ultimately funny take on this material. Viewers who are willing to let go of the past and those who are willing to experience a familiar character from a new perspective may find this horror movie worth checking out. Luckily, this remake doesn't cancel the existence of the 1988 version, which still holds up and is available for your viewing pleasure.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
RT Rating: 61%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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