Friday 17 April 2020

Movie Review: CHILD'S PLAY (2019)

I missed this one at the cinema last year, but it's now out on DVD and Blu Ray. I think it's currently on Netflix too. 

Anyway, there's a lot of drama surrounding this movie. To cut things short, this is not the Chucky you know and love. The original Chucky, created by writer/director Don Mancini, is the serial killer, Charles Lee Ray, who put his soul into the body of a Good Guy doll and went on a murderous rampage throughout the first three Child's Play movies. Due to legal 'stuff' surrounding the name Child's Play, the movies carried on as the 'Chucky' franchise. They continued with Bride Of Chucky, which is one of the best movies ever made, then Seed Of Chucky (one of the worst), and so on. The latest is 2017's Cult Of Chucky. Don Mancini wrote all of them, and directed a couple, and Chucky has always been voiced by Brad Dourif. This is the dream team that die-hard Chucky fans do not want fucked with.

Now, the company that owns the name Child's Play have made a remake of the original movie. Well, it's a re-imagining. It's clear that a lot of money has been ploughed into this new film, way more than team Chucky have had for a long time. This new Child's Play also hit cinemas as opposed to going straight to DVD. They've even splashed out in getting Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill to voice the new Chucky. I guess for Brad and Don, this reboot is like a millionaire footballer trying to steal your girlfriend. 

There's also the added sting that some fans are a little fed up with the low-budget movies, not to mention the story of Cult Of Chucky (multiple Chuckys? Really?). So many classic 80's Horror characters are having their legacies pissed all over in low budget Hell (*cough* Critters), that the idea of a new Chucky franchise with a worthy budget is quite appealing at this time. I put my personal bias to one side (well tried to) and gave the new Child's Play a go. 


Okay, so the story is about a kid called Andy who doesn't really have any friends. His Mum gets him a 'Buddi' doll (yep, not a Good Guy), but as she couldn't afford a new one, managed to get Andy one that had been returned to the shop and was due to be thrown away. This particular model was faulty because it had had its inhibitor chip removed by a disgruntled employee in the factory. 

The Buddi doll is an artificial intelligence doll that learns as it goes on. It can also control many household devices, hence the 'i' on the end of Buddi (iPads, iPhones etc). The doll sees how abusive Andy's step father is, and starts to understand what Andy loves and hates in life. 

There's a great scene where Andy befriends a couple of other kids (getting a doll that can swear makes you popular) and they watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 together. Chucky gets a knife and tries to kill one of Andy's mates because he saw him laughing at the violence in the film, and thinks that stabbing this kid to death will make Andy happy. Later, Andy wakes up to find his Step-Dad's face mounted with nails as a gift in his bedroom. Chucky shouts "surprise!" expecting Andy to be really happy about what he's done. I laughed so much. 

Yes, this is #NOTMYCHUCKY but there is no getting away from the fact that this is a decent movie in its own right. It's beautifully shot, paced well, and the actors are brilliant. There are plenty of gory death scenes amongst dark humour and witty dialogue. The story is pretty good with a decent amount of character development, and some social commentary. 

Child's Play is a lot of fun and I think the concept of the A.I Buddi doll is not only clever, but means that the original Chucky franchise can thrive too. There's no reason they can't co-exist as the Chuckys are fundamentally so different. Anyway, it's been successful enough at the box office that I have no doubt that there will be sequels, and I look forward to watching them.


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