Child's Play (2019)



 

I think this is a first for me here on 2Spooky. We've covered unofficial reboots, ripoffs, homages and all sorts of things, but I think this is the first time we've tackled an official reboot. Congrats, everyone! We've hit yet another milestone. Child's Play is the most recent in Hollywood's out-of-ideas-so-let's-update-an-older-movie-for-the-modern-day collection, and to be perfectly honest, when it was first announced I was more than a little apprehensive. Then I found out that Mark Hamill was going to do the voice for Chucky and I made up my mind right then and there that regardless of how terrible the movie might be, I was going to go see it because of Mark Hamill. Then the teaser came out and all of us that grew up on Batman: The Animated Series collectively thought "Oh, Mark is just going to do The Joker for this movie." Then the movie finally hit theaters and I put off seeing it until right before it was about to leave theaters, and now here we are. Let's dive in and for anyone who hasn't seen it yet who cares, spoilers. Ye be warned.


Child's Play was written by Tyler Burton Smith, who is best known for writing the screenplay for Child;s Play because this is the only movie he's written. Lars Klevberg directed, best known for directing Child's Play because you guessed it, this is his only movie. Staring Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, and of course, Mark Hamill, Child's Play follows the story of Andy (Bateman) and his mother Karen (Plaza) who wind up in possession of a discarded Buddi doll, which is basically this movie's version of an Echo. Things get creepy, people start dying, you know the drill. Surprisingly, this movie is sitting at a 63% approval rating from critics while only getting 58% approval from audiences. Didn't see that coming.


I'm going to be completely honest right off the bat and say it was very difficult for me to not constantly compare this movie to the original 1988 Child's Play because it's so different. The similarities begin and end with the fact that it;s called Child's Play and features a doll named Chucky who kills people. "Well no duh" I hear you say, "that's the entire point of the movie." Well, yes and no. Allow me to explain.


The original Child's Play involved a serial killer who, facing death's door and completely desperate, uses a voodoo spell to transfer his soul into a children's toy to escape death. He then tries to transfer his soul into the body of the kid who ends up with the doll and the whole thing is ridiculous and silly and I love it. 2019's Child's Play is just as tongue-in-cheek as the original but in a completely different way. The whole thing that causes Chucky to be is a disgruntled factory worker who, upon learning that he's being fired, removes all the safety checks from the Buddi doll he was currently assembling. Personally, I love that premise. It's a premise that I can relate to, but it's also ridiculous in nature, because why would Alexa need a violence inhibitor? To me, I think the biggest hangup this movie had was calling itself Child's Play. The idea behind it is so far removed from the original that it could have been it's own movie and not be tainted by this inevitable comparison that everyone who sees it is going to make. There are plenty of directions you could go in with smart devices turning sinister and murdering people, they didn't need to slap the Child's Play name on it in my opinion.


The other major difference between the original and the reboot is that in the original, Chucky was a serial killer from the start as I stated earlier. In the reboot, Chucky is almost a sympathetic character. He doesn't start off bad at all, and he only turns bad because of his misguided attempts to make Andy happy. By the end of the movie he's completely evil and you have no sympathy for him, but at the beginning you almost feel bad for Chucky. At least I did until he killed the family cat which, I'm going to put the review on pause here for a second to go on a little bit of a rant. Why is it in movies, if anything bad has to happen to an animal it's always a cat? I never understood it. Cats are the cutest, sweetest, most perfect animals on the planet and they don't deserve to be the family pet that gets murdered in all these horror movies! This movie earns negative one million points from me for killing the cat. Okay, I got that out of my system. Back to the review.


As far as the story is concerned, there really isn't much to tell. It's a very by-the-numbers plot, you know who is going to die as soon their characters get introduced, and there really aren't any unexpected twists. What I was most curious about going into this movie was the acting, specifically with regards to Mark Hamill. As I stated above I was pretty convinced he would just be doing his Joker voice for the majority of the film, and I'm pleased to say that's not the case. His voice only gets Joker-y a couple of times, and it's for a split second at that. His performance was actually really good, and I would say this movie is worth a watch for that alone, especially if you're a fan of Mark Hamill's other voice-over work. Aubrey Plaza plays a slightly more cheery version of Aubrey Plaza, which I didn't mind either. This movie does a great job of not taking itself too seriously, and I thought she did a fine job. The kids were...eh. Not the worst kids in movies I've seen by far (go back and read by review of Mercy Black if you don't believe me. Or listen to our review of The Phantom Menace on the main show) but there have definitely been better kids.


This is a horror movie though, isn't it? What about the kills? Well, aside from the cat because cats are great and should live forever all of the kills in Child's Play are pretty good. They're all pretty gruesome and one of them was actually pretty scary thanks to Mark Hamill's performance The actual Chucky doll itself is also pretty creepy. At first I wasn't a fan of the redesign because I thought it was going to be all computer animated, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the doll was mostly practical and the cgi was used pretty sparingly. Major thumbs up there because as you all know I'm a sucker for practical effects.


Overall, Child's Play was a nice surprise, if a little unnecessary. It was much better than I had expected it to be and Mark Hamill's performance alone was worth the price of admission. Still gets negative points for killing a sweet little kitty cat but overall it was a positive experience for me although I still prefer the original. Have you seen Child's Play? What did you think of it? How do you stack it up to the original? Let me know down in the comments!

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Horror movies have always served as a vehicle for social and political commentary. From the critiques of capitalism in They Live to the effects of an abusive relationship in The Invisible Man, horror