films

film. child’s play

MOVIE: Child’s Play

YEAR: 2019

DIRECTOR: Lars Klevberg

WRITER: Tyler Burton Smith

MAIN CAST: Gabriel Bateman, Mark Hamill, Aubry Plaza

RUNNING TIME: 1hr 30min

There are spoilers below…

The year before I was born, Charles Lee Ray possessed a doll and began a murder rampage that lasted over 30 years –

Chucky and Andy

– Chucky was his nickname and was recognised by any kid born in the 90’s; especially since the franchise kept pumping out horror films. Chucky even got married and had a kid (a doll kid)!

Ok, so by the time he had that kid, anyone who saw the original few movies was beginning to get a little bored (to put it nicely) and by the time Cult of Chucky came out, it was nose-diving into box-office-bomb-oblivion.

Then, after all that, comes Child’s Play 2019. Unlike all the other films, which were sequels, this is a reboot. Reboots are different because they’re not direct continuations of a previous story, but a blank slate.

I went to see the contemporary take on my favourite killer toy, and I don’t know what I expected (I’d purposely not even read a synopsis on the new film), but I did not expect what I got.

I was sold. Impressed. I loved it. I thought for a reboot, Child’s Play 2019 is bang on the money.

Instead of a possessed doll, the killer doll in this movie is something like a toy version of Amazon Alexa. Buddi (the new Chucky) is an artificially intelligent Doll. Designed for the modern family, he syncs with all their Kaslan Products. He keeps an eye on the kids, remembers their favourite shows and he is the best friend every kid deserves to have (that’s the sale angle anyways).

Reboots are risky business because there are die-hard fans of the originals who want scrutinise every frame for fault and are pre-dispostioned to hate whatever comes onscreen. I have no time for that and I love a new spin on an old idea.

Chucky Rebooted

Manufactured in a Vietnamese factory, a disgruntled worker decides he’s going to switch off the safety protocols of a Buddi doll, before he throws himself out of a window.

After seeing the Buddi doll may be faulty, a shopper returns it to the store – where a single mum, to a kid called Andy, works. She takes Buddi home and the rest reboot begins… as I said before, there are spoilers here.

The best thing about a reboot is it’s a new start to an already existing fictional universe. It gives other creative minds the opportunity to put their new stamp, on an old idea.

One of my favourite things about this reboot is that it’s taken something implausible (voodoo and possession) and made it plausible (computers, internet, the cloud, artificial intelligence). The “fear of technology” isn’t a new concept when it comes to horror films, but it does help to draw you in when you can conceive the idea as a true possibility.

Lars brings the Chucky Franchise out of the Voodoo age and into the Digital Age. The characters all have phones, the old lady across the hall can finally work Uber and drones are on sale at Zed Mart; If there’s a time to be scared of AI, the time is now.

Chucky and Andy

My second favourite thing about this movie is Andy and his mates. This kinda ties in with the 80’s theme of adventure nostalgia seen in the new IT film and the Stranger Things Netflix series. People are mad for a bit of kids against the world.

I thought the acting was brilliant and the dialogue and interaction with the kids, the adults and even Chucky was believable, engaging and funny. Quite a few times through the film I couldn’t help but think Chucky was the cutest! I even felt sad for Andy and Chucky when Falyn pulled the power source out of Chucky’s chest.

Pugg Falyn Andy Omar

I thought Lars did a smashing job of sharing out the credit while also making the new Child’s Play, new. There were even nods to the original Child’s Play and other popular films from around the same time.

There’s a few little eggs for Child’s Play, the most obvious being the Doll, Andy, his (almost single) Mum and of course the whole thing gets started with a violent death on a stormy night. 

There’s other film references from the very start. The original Orion logo from the start of Robocop and of course Lars even slotted a reference to that in too.

Mark Hamill is the voice of Chucky and played Luke Skywaker in the Star Wars films alongside the character Han Solo. When Andy begins the Buddi set-up he tries to call the doll, Han-Solo. Chucky just names himself completely ignoring the Han Solo suggestion.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a slasher movie from 1986. About this time, a whole host of slasher-gore films were beginning to pop up where comedy was a staple element. Seeing how everyone finds it hilarious to see Leatherface wearing a victims skin during a scene where Andy and his new mates are having a movie night, Chucky becomes kind of inspired by the violent scenes on-screen and decides to give it a go himself.

Leatherface

From 1988 – the year the original Child’s Play was released, Andy’s Bedroom has posters of Poltergeist III and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Andy’s posters

Killer Klowns is another Horror-Comedy. Like in E.T the Extra Terrestrial, another 80’s movie, Chucky’s finger lights up when he is controlling various Kaslan products.

In the 90’s another movie franchise began called Leprechaun, about…. you guessed it, a Leprechaun. Only this Leprechaun is pure psycho killer. Like Child’s Play and Texas Horror, this too is riddled with funny scenes of death and violence. You can see the reference in the Zed-Mart toward the end of the film where there’s the Leprechaun version of the Buddi2 doll and the Pot of Gold accessories.

There’s a couple other eggs hidden in there but you should just have a crack at trying to see them yourself by watching it again.

I know I will be.

It’s the best reboot I’ve ever seen and I am already hoping there’s a sequel.

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