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REVIEW: Child’s Play (2019) – Serviceable Killing Spree

 
Chuki
Chuki
Chuki

 
Overview
 

Directed by: Lars Klevberg
 
Produced by: David Katzenberg, Seth Grahame-Smith
 
Written By: Tyler Burton Smith
 
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Mark Hamill
 
MTRCB Rating: R-16
 
FG RATING
6.0
6/ 10


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Raves


It's fine and fun

Rants


Outside of certain kills, you won't remember it a week from now


For Andy’s (Gabriel Bateman) birthday, Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) gets her son the most popular toy in the market: the smart doll Chucky (Mark Hamill). Little do the two know that the birthday gift would be the cause of horrors beyond anything they can imagine.

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Posted June 20, 2019 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Having grown up on too much ancient horror movies, it’s safe to say that few things surprise me and my expectations for anything new are always low. Despite my general outlook and the movie being cynically made to keep the rights alive, the Child’s Play remake caught me off guard by not only being decent but fun – a word I’d barely use for horror movie remakes.

A Surprising Killing

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Child’s Play (2019) [Credit: United Artists Releasing]

Part of a remake’s job is to stand on its own without leaning on the source material’s legacy as a crutch, and the new Child’s Play succeeds in this. Independent of Chucky’s previous massacres, this remake works as a simple by-the-numbers family drama and a horror-comedy centered around a killer doll.

While the plot device about an ugly fucking doll being as popular as the Nintendo Switch is a bit unbelievable, Child’s Play does its job of telling a compelling enough story with a gimmick. The surprising thing here is its balanced tone, where it takes the goofy material seriously enough but doesn’t treat it like a joke – that’s what Bride and Seed of Chucky are for.

This results in a schlocky horror ride that hits its desired emotional beats while never losing its sense of fun, although a bit more character development would’ve improved the fine if generic characters. As a new Chucky movie and remake, Child’s Play is alright but it falls short when compared to the original.

Buggy Updates

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Child’s Play (2019) [Credit: United Artists Releasing]

Giving credit where it’s due, the new Child’s Play actually improves on the faults of recent Chucky movies (i.e. Curse and Cult of Chucky). For a series starring a murderous one-liner spouting toy, its last two entries were incredibly dreary and dull; seemingly forgetting how inherently silly the premise is. The original is a legitimate horror movie, but even it knew how to have fun with its bonkers story.

The new Child’s Play thankfully doesn’t linger on its new setting in an ill-advised attempt to bitch about technology the same way pretentious assholes blame superheroes for “cultural genocide.” At the expense of deeper character arcs, it revels in comedy and over-the-top murders that hearken back to the sadistic glee of the original trilogy without becoming exploitative trash. If this remake lacks something, it’s personality – something that immortalized the originals.

A dumbass, rogue Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) that takes commands too literally is topical, but it’s white rice compared to a doll possessed by a voodoo-using Tommy Wiseau-looking serial killer. By replacing this memorably weird shit with a CPU, the remake’s edge is dulled while the chance to have a malevolent presence is wasted on yet another bootleg SkyNet not unlike Ultron.

Andy’s (Gabriel Bateman) dynamic with a clingy Chucky (Mark Hamill) isn’t unsettling and comes off as an edgy Chappie remake, only lacking the life-saving PlayStation 3 and cheese. Granted, Child’s Play does its best with the given material but it wouldn’t have been too much to ask for something not as cookie-cutter as an angry computer that the genre has been overflowing with since Y2K technophobia became a thing.

Back In Stores

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Child’s Play (2019) [Credit: United Artists Releasing]

There’s simply no way that the new Child’s Play could eclipse the original. However, the eighth Chucky movie does more than enough to justify its existence while paying respect to its predecessors – complicated legal matters, aside.

Charming, different, and gory enough, Child’s Play is as quick and fun as a modern-day slasher movie should be. Thankfully, Chucky’s return to big screens has more in common with the latest Friday the 13th than whatever the fuck Platinum Dunes did to A Nightmare on Elm Street.


Angelo Delos Trinos

 
Part-time artist and writer, full-time critic/overthinker. He believes that Samuel L.Jackson is the greatest actor on earth and he misses video stores.


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