Overall thoughts: Horror fans will like the nostalgia and silly scares, but flimsy plot devices and non-sensical storylines make for just an OK time.
I saw the very first Child’s Play as a kid when it was released on video. After viewing, I then proceeded to sleep in my parent’s bed for the next two weeks until I was unceremoniously kicked out of their room.
As the sequels got wackier and wackier, I stopped paying attention altogether, but was intrigued when I heard of this reboot that would retell the origin of Chucky, the murderous doll.
Right away, you can see the updates from 1988 to 2019. We start in Vietnam where workers are mistreated, shamed, and beaten into mass producing the much anticipated Buddi Smart Doll; a toy that is expected to grab the hearts of every American child. One worker has had enough of the abuse and in a big fat screw you to his boss (and the world), he deletes all “bad behavior inhibitors” to one of the dolls.
Well, that one doll takes the long and winding road to the home of Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman) and his young, single, mom Karen (Aubrey Plaza). The most interesting addition to this movie is that Chucky is voiced by the wonderful and talented Mark Hamill and he is having fun with it!
As for the story itself, there are some key changes that differentiate it from the original, and it’s not just smart technology. Here, Chucky is not possessed by an evil soul, but is “born” without violence inhibitors. He learns violence from what he sees around him. Chucky attaches himself to Andy and he only knows how to show his allegiance to him by violently dealing with Andy’s attackers. Although, he also takes extreme displeasure with anyone who proclaims Andy is their best friend. There are some weak plot devices like a hearing aid that is only there to explain how Chucky can hear conversations that are nowhere near him. And the mother’s boyfriend, a total jerk that no one will miss, really makes no sense in being a part of Andy’s life.
I do believe there is underlying commentary on exploitive working conditions, AI technology, corporate social responsibility, and what we as a people consume as entertainment. But if you’re just in it for a good, horrifying time, you’ll find satisfaction in the mix of nostalgia and outrageous acts of violence. It’s a quick 90 minute fright fest that will have you chuckling a few times. There is one Star Wars reference I found hilarious and Detective Mike (Brian Tyree Henry) has some solid comic relief. Bonus, a sweet and wonderful new ditty called “The Buddi Song” beautifully performed by Mark Hamill’s Chucky. Enjoy!
I give it 1 Flipper up for the fun of it, but got to leave it there for being a little lazy on the story.