Okay. I’m going to try really hard to look at this film from two different angles: as a remake and as a stand alone horror film. Either way, it’s not looking good.
As a stand alone horror film, unrelated to the original series, it is mediocre, at best. I don’t know that I would even classify Child’s Play as a horror movie. I felt that there weren’t any scary elements to the film. It just had segments of gore. Thankfully, all the gore seemed to be practical effects and not CGI, so that was refreshing. However, they used a good chunk of CGI to animate the Buddi doll of Chucky when he was moving quickly, which is baffling to me. Even worse, the CGI was jarring. The transitions between the practical doll and the CGI doll were the furthest thing from smooth.
When a film doesn’t play by it’s established rules, we have a problem. And the entire ending to Child’s Play ignores all the rules that it had previously set up. The ending just completely spirals.
I cannot express to you enough that the film lacks horror elements. I don’t know that I would even classify the film as horror, more horror/comedy. It plays up the “band of losers” trope that seems to be appearing more and more in horror films now, where you have a bunch of kids who have to defeat the evil because the adults seem to be incapable of any logical thinking.
The writing was nothing special. It was very basic. The acting was good. I loved Aubrey Plaza, but I still don’t quite believe her playing a mother. Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky was definitely a highlight.
Now, to look at the movie as a remake: oh dear god. The new film is not backed by the original creator or most of the original cast. For all intents and purposes, this films only connection to the original is that there is a killer doll named Chucky who is gifted to a kid named Andy.
The entire origin of the Chucky doll is changed for this 2019 remake. And, as ridiculous as a serial killer using voodoo to inhabit the body of a child’s doll is, I was greatly disappointed that this was changed. Instead, we see a disgruntled employee remove all the safety blocks on one microchip that is inserted into one doll. This origin takes away any motivation that the character of Chucky may have. He’s now merely a malfunctioning toy (given, a deadly malfunctioning toy), but that’s it. You can hardly call him a character. The doll does not contain the soul of a human being who has motivations. He’s broken tech. And, that’s not nearly as thrilling and lacks any emotional attachment from the audience whatsoever. And now, the deaths of the people killed by said doll is the fault of the employee who removed everything. The only thing they did right in this situation was have that character commit suicide, that way we don’t wonder “what does he think about the effect of what he has done?”
One of the aspects that made the original Child’s Play series entertaining is that Chucky had a personality. In this 2019 remake, there really isn’t a personality to speak of which, again, creates a lack of any kind of emotional attachment, good or bad, from the audience. So, we don’t care what happens to this broken toy.
The addition of the Chucky doll being able to control a home via the Kaslan products is fine, I suppose. I just wish they didn’t do it E.T. style with the glowing finger. That felt corny. In fact, so much of the film felt corny. Nothing felt genuine. I think even the decision to make Andy an older kid as opposed to the six year old he was in the original film was not a good move. Having the child be younger, it makes more sense that adults would not listen to him or believe him when he says that the doll is alive and doing all these horrible things. When Andy in the film is a 13 year old teenager, it doesn’t make any sense why no adults will listen to him.
As stated before, this film, whether looked at as it’s own horror film or a horror remake, is mediocre at best. The highlight of the film was Mark Hamill, whose voice can portray evil enough. We didn’t need the eyes on the doll to turn red to know that something bad was happening. I hate it when movies don’t have enough trust in their audience. And, that is exactly what that felt like.
Do yourselves a favor and don’t see this one in theaters. Maybe watch it one day when it’s streaming on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, and even then, seek out the original and watch that slasher film instead. It’s a million times more entertaining than this one ever hoped to be.