Child's Play 2019
child's play | remake | chucky | killer doll | lars klevberg | tyler burton smith | aubrey plaza | mark hamill | gabriel bateman | france | canada | united states | brian tyree henry | tim matheson | david lewis | beatrice kitsos | trent redekop | ty consiglio
Film: Child’s Play
Director: Lars Klevberg
Writer: Tyler Burton Smith
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill and Gabriel Bateman
This was a film that I was kind of torn on. The sequels in the original franchise are films I grew up on and the idea of Chucky can really be quite creepy. The look of the doll was troubling to me, but I was down for the use of the cloud and how much technology we utilize in our lives. The synopsis is a mother gives her 13-year-old son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.
We start off with learning about the Kaslan Company from Henry Kaslan (Tim Matheson). He tells us all about they’re making lives easier with technology and that their newest toy, the Buddi doll, is able sync up with everything in the house to make your life even easier. He is also your best friend.
It then shifts to a factory in Vietnam where they’re making these toys. We see a disgruntled worker being yelled at by his superior. He can’t take it any longer and he turns off all of the controls that prevent these dolls from swearing and hurting people around it in one of the chips. He then commits suicide.
In the United States, we follow a family of Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) and her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman). They just moved into a new apartment. She works at a place called Zed Mart in the Returns and Customer Service area. She is dealing with upset customers and we see that her quirky, sarcastic attitude comes in handy. Andy is a bit lonely though. He doesn’t have any friends and he is kind of a loner.
We can see they don’t have a lot of money. Andy’s phone is cracked and Karen can’t afford to fix it. One day at work, a Buddi doll gets returned for being a bit defective. She convinces her manager to let her keep it since the new one is coming out soon. She gives it to Andy as kind of a joke gift. He isn’t thrilled at first, but he does turn it on. It kind of stutters at times and when it asks what is its name, he says Han Solo, what it heard was Chucky. It is of course voiced by the great Mark Hamill.
Andy ends up taking a liking to the toy, but this of course is the one that the worker tampered with. It is able to swear and be more violent than it is supposed to. Andy does befriend Pugg (Ty Consiglio) and Falyn (Beatrice Kitsos) who also live in his building. He is a hit with what Chucky can do. Things take a dark turn though when Chucky see them watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and how much fun they’re having. It thinks that violence is okay. Chucky takes defending Andy too far and it comes quite the problem, especially with Shane (David Lewis), Karen’s boyfriend.
Now I have to be honest here, this film isn’t as bad as I originally thought it was going to be. To be honest, I actually had a lot of fun with this one. I love the idea of the doll being possessed by Charles Lee Ray in the original film, but I’m not going to lie, this one is actually way more plausible to be honest. It actually makes more sense that something within its programming being tampered with allowing it to do things that it does. It is learning like an AI and not being programmed with knowing right from wrong, definitely makes this plausible. It is quite scary as I’m convinced one day, computers will wake up and take over.
That leads me to the next thing about this film, the use of technology. I will admit that I think the film goes a bit overboard with the idea that everything from the thermometer, their television and their home security would all be the same company. I get that it is a convenience for this to happen, but I think just being Bluetooth would work just fine. I do think though that we use technology way too much in our lives and I’m extremely guilty of that. It is terrifying what Chucky can do. It definitely culminates in the ending sequence and I loved the idea of that.
I do kind of wish they would have gone a bit farther than what they did. I think this could have rivaled the original for me if it could have been a bit more mean-spirited. I love the idea that Chucky can take over other Buddi dolls as I know this is something that gets explored by the original creator of the idea, Don Mancini, in his later films of the series. I just think we cut away from some deaths too early and we didn’t get enough later in the film either.
That brings me to the pacing of the movie, which is good. I think that we really establish the characters early and then start to build them from there. I like that Andy isn’t thrilled about his present, but he is lonely. We actually get to see Chucky learning all of the things he says and does later from Andy and his friends. I do think some of them are a bit forced, but I can overlook that a bit. I like what they decided to do for the climax of the film. It just didn’t go as far as I wanted. I do like the ending though. It is fine for what we got. The movie does leave itself open for a possible sequel and there are things that are hinted at in this one that could make this a bigger problem for sure.
As for the acting of the film, I thought it was pretty solid to be honest. I was worried about Plaza, because I wasn’t sure if she could play the age of the character. She does though. She acknowledges that she got pregnant at a very young age and I think her child’s personality is reflected in that. It actually worked and she did a really good job here. The voice of Chucky wasn’t picked until very late and was a point of contention, but I think they picked the perfect person to voice the character in Hamill, as from of course Brad Dourif. He brings such a creepy level to it that works and makes it his own. Bateman was solid, because as you know, children actors are hit or miss. I liked Brian Tyree Henry as Detective Mike Norris. He brings a certain level of comedy that also worked. Matheson, Kitsos and Consiglio all did fine in their roles. I do have to point out Trent Redekop as the character Gabe; he brings another creepy level to the film with what he’s doing. The rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.
To the effects of the film, they were actually not bad at all. They did go practical for the most part with blood and the doll itself. I have to be honest, after finally seeing this move the look of Chucky is just bad. I think his movements are fine though. They do have some CGI in there, but I really didn’t have any issues with it to be honest. There is some CGI blood as well, but not too much actually. The blood and kills were actually really good. My gripe there is I wanted to see more. The film is shot very well and the use of technology enhances the tension as well.
Now with that said, this film is better than I was expecting if I’m going to be perfectly honest. I did have a lot of fun with this. I really like the concept of this toy having Bluetooth capabilities and the implications there. Some of the things that stem from that definitely help drive the tension. If anything though, I wanted them to just go a bit farther for me. I thought the climax was a slight letdown for what they did, but the ending was fine. The acting of the film I thought was good and the effects for the most part were as well. The look of the doll just really bothers me still. The soundtrack of the film didn’t stand out, but it did fit the scenes for what was needed. I will say, the Buddi song from the movie that Chucky sings is quite creepy. I think this is a pretty good film though overall. I would recommend giving it a viewing.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10