Lars Klevberg (director)
21 June 2019 (released)
20 June 2019
There’s usually little point in doing a reboot or reimagining a film unless there’s something new to offer. Much like musical cover versions sticking close to the original just demonstrates laziness and a basic lack of imagination. Hendrix turned Dylan’s Along the Watchtower on its head, and Dylan has been weighed down with that ever since.
Director Lars Klevberg’s and writer Tyler Burton Smith’s new take on Child’s Play doesn’t quite take those risks but like the rebooted Carrie the tale now reflects today’s mores and in particular technology and consumerism.
While avoiding spoilers it’s fair to say that this Child’s Play is fundamentally updated and removed from the original and that franchise. It also takes a comically subversive and satirical approach to technology and its ever-pervasive presence as an essential part almost everyone’s life. As well as having a pop at the corporations that are behind and thriving off it with little if any thought for the consequences.
As such the first act of the film set us well with some snappy dialogue and a few in-jokes. Karen (Aubrey Plaza) is a single mother in a boring job in a toy shop. When a customer returns a Buddi doll because its malfunctioning, and in any case it’s an old model, she decides to keep it and give it to her lonely hearing-impaired son Andy (Gabriel Bateman).
Now Andy is probably too old for Buddi – now named Chucky - but once he’s logged in, had his faced scanned by the doll and its functioning, it’s a lot of fun, and attracts some friends/hangers-on. In the pantheon of advanced toys in films this is up there with the teddy bear super-toy in AI, only far less cuddly! So along with his new friends it sort of becomes part of the gang, copying them which is fun but also reacting to negatives.
For example Andy doesn’t like their cat, which the doll notes! Similarly, Andy has a down on Shane (David Lewis) Karen’s boyfriend which is unfortunate as Chucky has been picking up tips watching the notorious Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
A series of incidents and the gang slowly come to realise that not all is well with the doll and that action needs to be taken. It’s here that the film starts to drop some of the comedy and head into upper 15 rated horror, which is nasty but so slick that it barely casts a ripple.
It’s a glossy production with nary a break in the narrative as characters are quickly introduced, established and/or dispatched. It maybe sweeping and slightly denigrating to say that the cast are solid in fairly stock roles. but the main focus will be the voice of Mark Hamill as Chucky. It’s not as feral as Brad Dourif’s but in all aspects this is a sleeker doll which is reflected while retaining a menacing edge.