If you’ve following the site for any bit of time or have read even a handful of my previous reviews from over the past six or so years, you should have a pretty firm grasp on how I feel about remakes. Unlike most genre fans, I do not despise reboots of our favorite flicks from the past. On the contrary, more often than not, I quite enjoy them. The latest to add to the growing list of enjoyable re-imaginings is Lars Klevberg’s Child’s Play.
To cheer Andy (Garbriel Bateman, Lights Out) up for his birthday after their recent move, Karen (Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West, Life After Beth) gifts him a new state-of-the-art Buddi doll. It doesn’t take long, however, for the new toy to develop a mind of its own, as he sets out to kill anyone who has hurt his new best friend in any way.
The last few years has seen a resurgence of sorts in the original Child’s Play franchise; Original writer and series creator, Don Mancini, had returned to helm two new sequels — Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky — both of which also featured a returning Brad Dourif as the killer doll himself.
The two newest installments had been a breath of fresh air for longtime fans who were left with a sour taste in their mouth after 2004’s Seed of Chucky. Even more positive news came in early 2018 with whispers of a television show in canon with the original franchise being developed.
Then, not too long after, the reboot, which we are here to discuss, became a reality. Fans and series creators alike were up in arms over the whole ordeal, but alas the film was made and released nonetheless.
If you were one of the fans who were deeply angered by this 2019 iteration before it even came to fruition, I can somewhat relate. I mean, nostalgia and love for something that has been part of your life for so many years is a powerful thing. On the other hand, however, I was freakin’ excited as hell for a new take on our favorite psychotic puppet, Chucky.
Child’s Play features a cast of some of today’s top talent. As Andy’s mother, Karen, is Aubrey Plaza who is generally placed in more comedic roles. Because of this, it did take some time for me to adjust to her new position as someone’s mother. After about 20 minutes, it was clear that Plaza was the right choice, as her on-screen chemistry with Gabriel Bateman’s Andy was fantastic.
Bateman, who I am personally familiar with from his role in the Friday the 13th-inspired music video for “Wolfie’s Just Fine: A New Beginning,” does wonderfully as the lonely Andy Barclay. It takes some time for Andy to fit in to his new environment, making some new friends along the way, with the most important relationship, of course, being with Chucky.
There are some really endearing moments between Andy and Chucky throughout the first act of Child’s Play. Chucky’s true nature is to be Andy’s best friend ’til the end. He just happens to learn some very un-friendly things along the way, transforming him into a jealous and bloodthirsty ex-friend very quickly.
If there is anyone on this earth worthy enough of replacing the iconic voice and skill of Brad Dourif as Chucky, it is certainly the, dare I say it, more iconic Mark Hamill. Not only has Hamill been playing one of the most recognizable characters for the last 50 years in Luke Skywalker, but his [voice]work as The Joker can be considered second to none. It is this same maniacal performance that he has brought to Lars Klevberg’s Child’s Play that makes Chucky so effective.
If Plaza, Bateman, and Hamill weren’t enough, the cast is rounded out by some other fantastic talent, as well. Next door neighbor and detective, Mike, played by Brian Tyree Henry (Hotel Artemis, TV’s “Atlanta”), and new friends, Falyn and Pugg, played by Beatrice Kitsos (TV’s “The Exorcist”) and Ty Consiglio (TV’s “Fast Layne”), respectively, add even more depth to the story and make things that much more interesting along the way.
Gone are the days of black magic and “give me the power, I beg of you;” There is no serial killer trapped inside the body of a plastic doll. This time, Child’s Play is the story of technology-gone-wrong.
In a day and age where every device in your home is a “smart” one, Child’s Play has done a remarkable job updating Chucky’s story for a modern audience. This psychotic plaything not only wants to play sadistic versions of peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek, but he can do so with a whole new level of power using all of the other Kaslan products found throughout various homes, stores, etc. Chucky has eyes and ears everywhere and once he reaches his full sinister potential, he knows just what to do with them.
The final act of Child’s Play is as bloody as you could ever ask for. It is pure mayhem locked inside of a toy store and if you can’t turn off your brain for these last 20 or so minutes and just have some fun, then I feel kind of badly for you.
Child’s Play is a fun popcorn movie, regardless of if you hate reboots, remakes, re-imaginings, or whatever else you want to stick re- in front of. It features some gruesomely inventive kills and contains some rather impressive practical special effects. It is what we love about some of the more ambitious entries in the franchise that started 31 years ago and even more.
Yes, Chucky has a different look, yes, they changed the backstory, and yes, there are countless other pretty significant alterations, but Child’s Play 2019 is still a bloody good slasher film and can be enjoyed regardless of how many other editions I have of the previous seven films on my shelves.
I am very pleased with how this new iteration of Child’s Play has turned out and welcome any future sequels that may be in the pipeline. If this is all we get from Lars Klevberg’s universe of killer dolls, then that is fine, too. Either way, I urge you to watch the film yourself and form your own thoughts, longtime fan or not.
Child’s Play is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The home release features audio commentary with the director, some behind-the-scenes featurettes, all of the previously released promotional claymation shorts created by Lee Hardcastle, and more.
The film is presented in 1080p widescreen (2:39:1) with English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Language tracks, and English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
I give Child’s Play 4.5 fake buddy cop team-ups out of 5.