Child’s Play (2019)

Child's Play 2019 posterAnother in the ongoing list of horror remakes and reboots has hit the screens in the form of a modern take on the 1980s possessed doll crossover hit Child’s Play.

While a constant presence, for better or worse reasons, throughout my youth, I hadn’t actually seen any of Chucky’s previous screen outings so came to this one as fresh as is possible, though I’m not sure if that helped or hindered my enjoyment.

Telling a similar tale of a toy doll that goes on a killing spree things are updated here from the off when as we begin with an advert for the Buddie doll that apparently combines aspects of Furbies with Amazon’s Alexa (on which the film entirely fails to capitalise) and its ilk in being not just an irritating toy for kids but one that can, somewhat bizarrely given it’s a toy, control all the electronics in your house.

However, we then see a factory in Vietnam where a worker is told he’s losing his job and so, for his last work, he disables all the safety protocols on one doll before throwing himself off the roof of the factory.

Child's Play 2019 - Chucky

Cut to a department store in a non-specific modern American city where our real story begins and young single mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza) brings home a ‘faulty’ Buddie doll for her hearing impaired son, Andy (Gabriel Bateman), as a surprise gift and you can probably guess what happens from there.

Therein lies the film’s main problem, you can guess what happens, almost exactly moment by moment and even when it looks like something surprising might happen, or a twist be thrown into the mix, it’s so clearly telegraphed that it fails to have any impact.

The overstretched climactic set piece show down is a prime example as it should have come entirely out of left field but is rendered obvious too long before it begins to spring any sense of surprise fun at it’s inherent ridiculousness.

Child's Play 2019 - Chucky and Gabriel Bateman
Chucky and Andy (Bateman)

Don’t get me wrong, I love a ridiculous turn of events, but when it’s not a surprise it loses any appeal.

Being a horror comedy it raises very few actual laughs, though again it’s obvious where they are meant to be, they just fail, while it’s horrific side is at best run of the mill and predictable while not nearly as graphic as it would need to be to shock.

This could be due to the fact that it’s clearly been made to fit a 15 certificate (in the UK), rounding off its more brutal edges to a level of pointlessness despite referencing ‘video nasties’ of the originals era.

Character wise no one is raised behind the level of stereotype, including Chucky, and while Mark Hamill’s vocal performance is probably the film’s highlight it all leaves things with no sense of jeopardy.

Child's Play 2019 - Brian Tyree Henry, Gabriel Bateman and Aubrey Plaza
Brian Tyree Henry, Gabriel Bateman and Aubrey Plaza

It’s either clear who’s going to die and when or we simply don’t care enough for the characters to actually be bothered if they do die or not, including Karen and Andy.

The one highlight moment of the film comes when it looks like Andy and his group of friends have formed their own mini-super team — in fact a film focussing on them hunting down the killer doll would have been a far more interesting concept.

In all this new Child’s Play makes everything too obvious while lacking any sense of coherency within its own world making it’s increasingly ridiculous set pieces fall flat while its sense of humour never hits home, making for a disappointingly flat film despite plenty of ingredients that could have made it a fun, wild and gory ride.

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