The original Child's Play is a horror classic and one of my favorite films from when I was a kid. I never found it really scary, but I always found it entertaining and even hilarious in a dark way. Now we have the new remake with the same title, characters, and killer doll premise, yet ends up being very different than the original in both good and bad ways.
Directed by Lars Klevberg (Director of That Polaroid movie that never came out in America), this version of Child's Play immediately lets you know what type of film it'll be with a hilariously ridiculous intro that establishes that this version is going for a drastically goofier and darker comedic tone than the original film did. Klevberg knows how silly this premise is and has fun mixing grotesque horror, family drama, and comedy in entertaining and unique ways. For what this film is, it was directed pretty well and I'm going to keep an eye out for Klevberg's next feature.
The story is the closest thing to the same as the original film. It's about a kid who gets a doll that ends up going crazy and killing people. Besides some characters being slightly different than the original, the plot doesn't really do enough new to completely justify its existence. What I did find interesting about this retelling is the relationship between Chucky and Andy. This relationship was in the original, but it was more nefarious then charming. The friendship between them in the 2019 film is very sweet at first, and it almost makes you wish that it didn't end in horrible brutality...almost. Chucky (voiced by the excellent Mark Hamill) is an A.I. doll in this version, so he's programmed to love his owner and his warm demeanor towards Andy and soothing, childlike voice really does wonders for the ugly, bloated look of the new design of Chucky. So, when he eventually starts hurting people, it's almost sad...until he starts cutting faces off in hilarious fashion (What? I like dark humor).
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Mark Hamill as Chucky stole the show in a charming and subtly villainous vocal performance. I really felt for this misshapen Matt Damon from Team America looking nightmare. The first time Mark Hamill spoke, I was completely invested in this new version of the iconic villain. Gabriel Bateman as an older version of Andy was very good, Aubrey Plaza as Andy's mother was a weird bit of casting but worked well with this new, more sarcastic version of the character, and Brian Tyree Henry (one of my favorite actors at this moment) as Detective Mike Norris is a completely different character but is a much more likable and charming character than his predecessor who I always found bland. The rest of the supporting cast, however, is pretty forgettable, with Andy's friends being the biggest letdown mainly because they weren't fleshed out and were completely unnecessary to the story.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Bear McCreary is a god among composers. He's done countless scores for films and at least 90% of them have been great, and that's not changing with Child's Play. I give this section a Full just because we now have an official Child's Play theme, and it also sounds great! It's a terrific mix of creepy sounding string instruments and children’s instruments that fit very well. The rest of the score is great as well, and special credit goes to Mark Hamill for singing a beautiful little song at the end of the movie.
Chucky's face...YIKES! There's something about Chucky's face in this movie that disturbs me and makes me laugh at the same time. It's way too big, bloated, and he has this weird look on his face that I can't NOT chuckle at. It's a shame because the puppeteering and animatronics that they use to make the Buddi dolls move and show emotion are pretty great! The way they walk around and move is impressive, but it's all undone by that weird looking, outdated face. How does the original look way better? HOW!?!?!
I was pleasantly surprised by the Child's Play remake. While not amazing, I had a lot of fun and it gave us exactly what we wanted; plenty of blood and gore to go along with the comedy. It's not very scary, but it sure is entertaining and likable in its own way.