By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
So, I’m a very bad boy. When I originally drafted this, I was going to talk about how I had a Toy Story kinda weekend between this and, well, Toy Story 4.
Which turned out to be significantly more existentially terrifying.
Instead, I’ll just cut to the chase now. Child’s Play is a reboot of the Chucky franchise, but now instead of a doll possessed by a very salty Brad Dourif, Chucky is a Buddi doll, a wifi-enabled monstrosity made certifiably so by a disgruntled Vietnamese factory worker who then proceeds to kill himself (but who doesn’t then possess the doll saltily, although that would have been a pretty awesome way to go, too). A teenager whose single mother is a salty Aubrey Plaza, somehow, finds out that his Buddi doll is… a bit special.
The approach is new, but for my money, that’s not a bad thing. I liked the interconnectedness of it all, the original patheticness and innocence of the Buddi doll corrupted by bad influences intentional and not, and how emotional issues mixed with a lack of safeguards can metastasize into something evil. Somehow it all makes Chucky… relatable? Yeah, that’s the right word.
A lot of that heavy lifting is done by Mark Hamill’s masterful voicework, who makes the character his own despite Dourif’s oversized shadow, but lead Gabriel Bateman’s rapport with him is essential, and the personal touch that supporting actors like Plaza and the always welcome Brian Tyree Henry adds character to the proceedings.
Director Lars Klevberg, of Polaroid semi-fame, takes a huge step here, delivering a slick, intriguingly lit and scored, and well-choreographed horror film that should open plenty more doors for him.
Finally, the fact the kid’s named Andy and all the other clever Toy Story callbacks in the film and its promotional materials certainly don’t hurt my enjoyment.
Still the scariest possible Andy.
Chucky doesn’t quite realize the full potential of what they set up in climax, with a whole new generation of different types of killer Buddi dolls raising hell in essentially a K-Mart (remember those?) Set those fuckers loose.
Like a Mark Hamill-possessed killer doll, Chucky is the rare reboot that immediately establishes its own voice and devilish reason to exist.
Child’s Play (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Chucky’s eyes turn red
Take a Drink: every time anyone sings the “Best Friends” song
Take a Drink: for every kill, of course
Take a Drink: every time Chucky is kind of tragic and pathetic
Do a Shot: for the watermelon