Child’s Play (2019)
Directed by Lars Klevberg
Written by Tyler Burton Smith
Starring Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Mark Hamill
Rated R | 90 minutes
Release date: June 21, 2019
The 1988 Tom Holland/Don Mancini Child’s Play took a ridiculous premise and elevated it to classic horror status thanks to a great cast, tremendous practical effects, and Brad Dourif’s iconic voice acting as Chucky. While that franchise continues to find new life on Blu-ray and TV, director Lars Klevberg and Orion rebooted the killer doll franchise with a movie that many hate and rip on general principle. Yet it’s perhaps thanks to having zero expectations that the updated Child’s Play is really freaking entertaining.
Altering from the voodoo curse/soul transfer of the original, the modern adaptation from a screenplay by Tyler Burton Smith puts the film in a Black Mirror/Robocop-style reality. Filthy city blocks outside, updated Amazon-style (Kaslan) technology monopoly inside. That’s where we meet Buddy, the best friend doll who serves as a tool to control all the Kaslan products.
Some Mancini-loyalists will shit on this massive change in Chucky lore as essentially he’s closer to the kill bots in Chopping Mall than a Freddy-level slasher, but I liked and appreciated the change. To me a good horror remake, which are rare but do exist, maintains the spirit of the original while doing things to stand out on their own. What Klevberg’s film has is a good cast, a great score from Bear McCreary, and of course, the Joker himself, Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky and you can feel him having so much fun emoting in a sound booth.
There are plenty of issues. While I like the tech aspect, I didn’t appreciate the opening 15 minutes and thought it was lame how Chucky “became Chucky.” There’s also a character who is SUCH an asshole that it made it hard for me to take his acting and general presence seriously.
That said, this movie got a R rating and it’s a HARD R! One of my biggest issues with the recent film Ma was that it got the R, and then teased major “oh shit” moments, but then bait and switched. Here, Chucky goes for the jugular and there is blood and carnage galore. One scene in particular had audiences squirming.
You will 100% get what you want from Lars Klevberg’s film. It’s funny, bloody, entertaining, and fairly mindless horror. If you want to hate it, there’s plenty to hate, especially with the weird look of the doll. But if you pay $16+ for a movie ticket looking to hate the film, I don’t know what to tell you. Hamill, the score, the hard R violence, and the overall sense of fun left me happy at the end.
3.75/5 – perfect to kill 90 minutes on a shitty rainy day.
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