Child’s Play begins in Vietnam with a disgruntled worker disabling a Buddi Doll’s safety features in retaliation for being fired. The defunct doll is then processed for delivery.
Meanwhile in Chicago, Karen, Aubrey Plaza, (“Ingrid Goes West” “Parks and Recreation (TV)”), and her hearing-impaired son Andy, Gabriel Bateman (“Lights Out” “American Gothic (TV)”) have recently moved into a new apartment.
After realizing Andy’s difficulties with making friends, Karen tries to cheer Andy up by getting a Buddi Doll from her work for his birthday.
Karen gives Andy the doll as an early birthday gift and to her surprise, he initially rejects the idea of having a “children’s toy.” Once he activates the doll to the “cloud,” it rejects the name Andy gives it and says its name is Chucky. From that point on, Andy and Chucky become inseparable.
Chucky begins to help Andy prank Karen’s jerk boyfriend, Shane, David Lewis (“Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (TV)”), find new friends, and embrace happiness with his new life.
The happiness is short-lived as Chucky begins to show a very violent side towards Andy’s friends and pet cat. Chucky wants to be Andy’s Best Friend and will do anything to make Andy happy. Andy notices this but treats Chucky like a child not knowing what’s right or wrong.
Chucky’s violent personality takes full control since he thinks it will help Andy and Chucky become Best Friends Forever. This results in multiple murders and grabs the attention of Detective Mike, Bryan Tyree Henry (“Atlanta (TV)”, “Widows”).
Like most horror films before it, none of the adults believe Andy when he tries to explain that Chucky is a murderer. All of this culminates into a gruesome third act that opens the door for sequels.
I believe there is a lot to like about this film and most of it has to do with Mark Hamill’s version of Chucky. He creates a childlike version of this horror icon that I couldn’t help but care for. I never thought it could happen, but Hamill made me do it. I am mixed on the doll itself, but the design is an afterthought once Chucky starts to speak.
The rest of the cast, especially Henry and Plaza, does as much as they can with a thin script written by video game writer and first-time feature writer Tyler Burton Smith. Smith connects all the cliché horror film dots and succeeds with some good moments, but no scene particularly jumps out.
Cinematographer Brendan Uegama (“Riverdale (TV)”, “Chilling Adventure of Sabrina (TV)”) creates a very dark and dimly lit Chicago atmosphere to add to the “horror” aspects of the film.
Director Lars Klevberg (“Polaroid”) does demonstrates some potential with some great visuals but like Smith, a lot of it is uneven and can’t quite keep the audience’s attention for the full 90 minutes. It just felt too fast at some points (especially the beginning) and dull in others (the ending).
I believe the worst part of the film though is that it just wasn’t scary. I feel like if you reboot a 30-year-old franchise with a new idea, it should have brought in new scares, but they chose to go the gore route instead.
I think with a consistent pace and better script; the movie could have easily been more fun than it was. After saying that, I was entertained for most of the movie and I would see the sequel because I believe this character does have at least one more story to tell on the big screen.