Remakes and reimaginings can get the older generation worked up but we need to realize as horror fans that these new takes on a classic franchise are not made for us, they're made for a younger, wider audience who like jump scares and to be scared by the unexpected.
It's been 31 years since Child's Play released the first in a series of seven films, which are still spawning sequels to this day. In fact, Cult of Chucky from 2017 has spawned a SyFy TV Show coming to screens in 2020. Child's Play (2019) however sees the universe reboot. Chucky has a whole new origin story and as a result, you'll find yourself rooting for the little guy as he learns what it is to be a best friend.
You may be wondering how a killer doll can scare the shit out of audiences today. We all know Annabelle literally copped out with the whole "It's a demon" bull shit, so they can explain away why they can throw every horror cliché at the franchise. For Chucky and Child's Play in 2019, they need to play it smart and they have. Chucky is all A.I. he's learning and some of his settings might be a little bit screwy but ultimately, he is a good guy... he just has trouble interpreting different scenarios, after all, he is a blank slate. A blank slate which can access a cloud network of devices and control them from wherever he may be. So if things get a little bit fucked up... well he's got a whole arsenal at his disposal.
This new premise brings the Child's Play franchise into the here and now. Chucky as a character in the Don Mancini classic (Watch it!) is a cut and dry stone cold killer whose soul is transferred into a doll after a shoot out. Here Chucky is far more complex and there's room to feel sympathy for this fledgling spirit to shine. Empathy is a big part of the story and while the gore may come later, the scenes where Chucky becomes self-aware are truly great to watch. Mark Hamill's voice work is on point and really does the animatronic doll justice. Yes.... an animatronic doll, most of the work here is practical effects which most people will be happy to hear.
Chucky is a fully formed character and there's no denying that the cast has a lot of work to do to come up to the level of this killer dolls personality.
Aubrey Plaza plays a mum who works hard and loves her kid but her taste in men leaves a lot to be desired. Aubrey as ever is great but she falls back into the old "April syndrome" at points. Known for her dry wit and devil may care attitude for Andy's mum, sometimes that doesn't quite fit. Overall she's great but horror is a departure for her and we kind of wanted to see a little more. She's still great, it's just we wanted more drama and less comedy.
The other standouts here are Brian Tyree Henry as Detective Mike and Carlease Burke who plays his mother. The funny moments come and go with these two, especially when Chucky is causing some mayhem. This is a film about relationships, the different constructs that makeup family whether it be your friends, your blood relatives or even a small doll just looking for a friend.
Child's Play (2019) has layers and if you let it, it will give you something to think about. How are you treating your friends at the moment?
What makes this film extra special is the Amblin-esque make up of the characters. The innocence and the drive of adventure which brings everything together make this a Stranger Things kids meet kick ass killer doll.
Overall this is a hard R rating. There's a lot of gore here and the fun the film has referencing other great MGM properties like Robocop and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 goes to show that horror is at the heart of Child's Play (2019).