In an era of reboots, remakes and re-imaginings, it’s hard to stand out. The best way to make a splash is a departure from what’s come before. Instead of paying homage to the original franchise, you make your own path using only the core idea of the story. Such is the case with 2019’s Child’s Play, directed by Lars Klevberg, in theatres today.
Child’s Play takes the set up of a mother buying a toy for her son Andy for his birthday down a different path. There is no soul possessing Chucky. Artificial Intelligence is the antagonist of the film. Using Alexa and Google Home as inspiration, the Buddi doll connects to all your tech and is hooked into every aspect of your home. With access to all of Andy’s information, Chucky sees himself as the boy’s protector and takes this responsibility to a fatal end.
The social commentary about the effects of a.i. in our everyday lives is superficial but effective. This works with the simple story of the film. There is no nuance or introspection on the control that computers have in our day-to-day living. Child’s Play goes immediately to the worst case scenario and is a better film because of it. The pace of the movie is rapid fire, giving the viewer little chance to breath. This brisk pace also tells an interesting tale about a child’s desensitization towards violence.
The performances in the film are on point with no actor feeling out of place. Gabriel Bateman is believable as Andy and has great chemistry with Chucky as odd as that sounds. Aubrey Plaza is also enjoyable as Andy’s mom, Karen. It’s nice to see her in a very different role from what she normally plays. The character is grounded in reality. Plaza usually plays the exact opposite of that. Here she feels very normal and that’s a good thing. Brian Tyree Henry and David Lewis round out the cast in strong supporting performances. To no one’s surprise, the true scene stealer of the film is Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky.
Since the story is such a departure, Hamill’s Chucky is also nothing like the original. The doll is more robotic in his actions and the voice follows suit. Hamill’s performance sounds more like a collection of pre-recorded phrases that react to Andy. This creepy, sterile persona fits perfectly with the film. And the “Buddy Song” will haunt you long after the movie ends.
If you are a fan of the original Child’s Play franchise, you’ve probably made up your mind on the film. That’s your loss. If you are looking for a fun, fast paced horror movie that delivers, this is worth checking out. It’s a true departure from the original and that’s a good thing. Child’s Play is currently in theatres.
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