Directed By: Lars Klevberg Released: June 21, 2019
When you first look at Child’s Play (2019) you immediately start to question as to why anyone would re-make the 1988 classic slasher horror. The answer is this new doll is actually an AI that controls the different utilities in your house instead of a serial killer that uses voodoo magic to transplant his soul into a doll. Cause that makes sense. On top of that it’s the great Mark Hamill playing Chucky, very exciting. Oh, and don’t forget that it’s from the producers of that surprise hit, “IT.” That right there was enough to get me to sit down with some friends and watch the new take on a horror classic. And I wasn’t disappointed, in fact I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time. A warm feeling…of pure hatred.
The only positive notes I have about this travesty of a film is that it was great to see Aubrey Plaza in a leading role. I, of course, love her in Parks and Recreation so seeing her get a top billing was fun. And the other note is…well there isn’t one. In fact my one note isn’t all that positive, while I don’t blame Miss Plaza for her performance, her character is dreadful from beginning to end.
The concept is probably the one aspect of the film that could even remotely entice audiences to see the movie, and they stumble on the first hurdle. Child’s Play (2019) has us follow Karen (Audrey Plaza) is trying to get her son, Ben (Ben (they didn’t even change the actors name) Andrusco-Daon), one of the new hottest toys in the store she works at. Well, she can’t afford the newest version, so she blackmails a truck worker to allow her to keep a broken one. As you can see, right from the start we are endeared by this mothers resourcefulness to give her child the best birthday gift. This doll is the Buddi doll, apart of a line of products that all connect to the AI and controlled via voice command. That is actually really cool, and as this is a horror flick surely they will use this to the fullest extent that Hollywood script writers can think of. And this doll is voiced by Mark Hamill, this will be a bloody good time.
Ben really needs this doll, because his home life is terrible. Unfortunately Karen has an abusive and controlling boyfriend, Shane (David Lewis). I want to give a special mention to Shane, as he might actually be the worst person ever put to film. Every second his face even occupies a pixel of the screen I hate his guts. The director possibly wanted this reaction, as every time he he opens his mouth he says something so utterly stupid or mean that I can’t think of a single time I wanted him to still be alive. Maybe that is the point, you want to see him die. In a slasher, seeing that one satisfying kill of the most annoying character can save the picture. And Child’s Play (2019) builds his death up, with the last three minutes before his demise showing how much you truly should be hate him. A character I hate in the perfect time of the film to watch him die, I was ready.
I want to give the play by play on how insanely stupid this kill is. If you don’t want spoilers, please move on to the next segment and the rest of the review will tell you other ways I hate this movie. Ben tells Buddi (Chucky, as he randomly calls himself at one point for no reason) that he wishes Shane would never return. So Chucky (Buddi?) follows Shane home after he spends time with Karen. He is greeted by his actual family, with loving kids. Just to drive home how much of a scumbag he is. His wife tells him to take down the Christmas lights…at night. He agrees…which seems against his character, but he’s a loving family man after all. As he ascends the two story ladder, again at night, Chucky moves around the garden outside and that causes him to fall, bringing the string of lights down with him and breaking his stupid legs. He is greeted by Chucky, who proceeds to use a mower to pull the string of lights around Shanes body to pull him in. As he tries to stop the mower, Chucky jumps on top of him and exclaims “This is for Tupac!” as Shane’s face is ripped off and dies. Ben had told him to say that earlier when brandishing a knife. Because the writers thought it would be funny. If you thought that sounded really cool and is a great way to kill a horrible character, then please disregard the rest of this review.
-No More Spoilers-
You may be wondering by this point “What about the idea that Chucky can kill you using the house electronics? That sounded like a really creative idea for this imagining.” And to that I say, you are correct. That does sound like a creative way to kill people, especially in this modern age. Problem is he only uses the power once, and to a character we know literally nothing about other than he is a creep in the basement of an apartment complex. I actually don’t think they ever said his name in the film, but he steals Chucky so he can…resell it. The doll we were told earlier is the old model and that one in particular is broken. But this guy can buy the replacement parts and sell it “big on Ebay.” Of course. And that kill is just a Saw wanna-be. It’s not all that fun to watch, though the death itself is cringe. But that’s it.
At the end of our adventure, one that lasts far too long as it is, our young hero Ben finds some school friends (we never see the school, mind you) that team up to take down the crazed doll. Remember, this has the producers of IT so we got to have our team of children defeat the evil entity. They have to stop Chucky in a climatic final confrontation that saves the day. Does that sound like another…it’s the same ending as IT. They did not even try to hide the similarities.
So here we are. What are we left with? A dull, uninspired remake of a 80’s horror movie. None of the characters are memorable, the script is copy and pasted from better movies, and the film can’t even use it’s own concept in any fun or entertaining ways. The worst part, the actual idea of the original is used way better than this remake. In Child’s Play (1988), as I mentioned earlier, Chucky is a serial killer in the body of a child’s doll. It makes sense that he would sometimes pretend to be a regular doll to trick those around him. He is insane to begin with, and the creative kills utilize the idea that it’s a doll committing the murder. In the 2019 version, Chucky really is just a doll that had its AI messed with so he goes rogue and kills people. But why would he pretend not to be able to talk? Or to just sit there and make it seem like Ben is going crazy? At the beginning of the film you see a commercial advertising the Buddi doll and showing it in various situations where he would be useful. I legit paused several times and theorized about the different ways that scenario could be used later. I was fooled into thinking the writers were trying to use foreshadowing, because none of those scenarios came up even though the film had the building blocks set up.
Nothing about Child’s Play (2019) is good. Even saying aspects are passable is stretching it. Just watch the original. Or put on literally any other horror movie. In fact any other film would be better. Turning the TV off and getting a real doll from the store would be scarier than this. Reading this review about the film is more terrifying than the film itself. In fact thank you for getting this far, I really appreciate it. I feel better, and hopefully saved you about 10 minutes of your life you would have wasted turning on Child’s Play (2019) and realizing how bad it is before turning it off. You’re welcome, and have a safe day.