Director: Lars Klevberg
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, David Lewis, Carlease Burke and Tim Matheson.
Run time: 1h 30min
Just over 30 years since we first played with Chucky, a kid’s doll cosmically possessed by the soul of a serial killer, somebody in Hollywood decided it was time for a reboot, or rather reimagining, of this cult franchise to go along with the various other movie refurbishments that are currently trending.
This time, Buddi is the doll wirelessly hooked up to Kaslan, and their equivalent of iCloud, a corporation fully utilising technology from self-driving cars to robotic vacuum cleaners. Opening in a Vietnamese sweatshop, where the toys are manufactured, a disgruntled employee deliberately removes Buddi’s safety protocols including those for bad language and violence. This seems a bit harsh knowing that he will likely be given as a gift to a youngster looking for a bit of companionship, but go with it for now.
Buddi, or Chucky, as he renames himself due to the glitches in his software, joins Karen (Plaza) and Andy Barclay (Bateman), a mother and son looking for a fresh start from a past life that isn’t explained. Soon, but maybe not soon enough, the psychopathic play-thing begins interpreting Andy’s instructions to suit his sinister agenda and the claret begins to flow as Chucky chucks off anyone threatening his relationship with Andy.
Let’s not overthink this. Child’s Play is a comedy horror about a killer doll. If you can accept that then you might enjoy this. Analyse it too much and it’s way too easy to find fault. “Why not just take the doll’s batteries out?” I hear you cry. Well, because then you wouldn’t have a film. “Why does a 13-year-old boy want a toy doll?” Because he does, okay! Like I said, go with it.
Mark Hamill lends his famous tones to the diminutive doll and, sadly, doesn’t have a particularly interesting script to work with for the first hour of the film. It’s only during the climax that he cranks the malevolence up to 11 and finds his voice.
The deaths are suitably gory, but slasher fans will probably be disappointed with how few there are. The lead cast all do well with what they’re given and none more so than Brian Tyree Henry who excels as the Detective investigating the murders. His relaxed manner and easy charm warranted more screen time, but the peripheral characters are largely forgettable.
Pedestrian in places and not helped by ridiculous character choices, Child’s Play still manages to entertain, but only if you allow it to.
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