Movie Review: Child's Play (2019)

Synopsis: A Chicago retail clerk brings home a popular interactive doll to her 12-year-old son, not realizing the doll has a programming defect that will result in the toy being turned into a killer.

Who's in it? The movie stars Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Mark Hamill and Tim Matheson.

Review: When I first saw they were remaking one of my favorite horror films, I had no plans to watch it. However, my wife wanted to see it and I saw Mark Hamill was voicing the doll, Chucky, so I ended up getting it on DVD through Netflix.

We finally watched it last night. After doing so, I immediately regretted not sticking with my original plan to skip it.

At first, I thought this movie would be better than expected, mostly because Chucky had the ability to control other electronic devices and I saw real potential with that. However, the movie fell way short of taking advantage of that potential and, ultimately, the original was just better.

Let's put it this way, the original Chucky (Brad Dourif) was possessed by the spirit of an evil person who enjoyed killing. His motivation in the original film was to kill Andy (Alex Vincent) so he could become human. The Chucky in this movie had his safeguards turned off (a little too easily) and essentially learned to be evil by watching horror movies and the people around him. His motive for killing was to either protect Andy (Bateman) or to ensure he remained his friend. In other words, he wasn't evil, he just wasn't smart enough to realize he was doing evil things. That, in my book, made him a victim. Victims aren't scary.

Also not helping this movie was the somewhat slow pacing. It took forever for Chucky to kill his first human victim and the film really never picked up momentum until toward the very end. I was ready to turn the movie off by that point.

Another thing that doesn't help this film is the casting of Andy and his mom (Plaza). There just wasn't enough chemistry between the two of them to make the mother/son relationship believable, especially since Plaza looked way too young to be playing the mother of a teenager. The original film was, as much as anything, a movie about a single mom who would risk everything to protect her son, even if she doesn't believe him about his doll. In this movie, the mom is just there and looks and acts more like an older sister than parent. Without that relationship, this movie is just missing something.

Final Opinion: I didn't go out of my way to watch this film when it first came out and, after finally seeing it, I learned my gut feeling was right. If you like the original, I recommend re-watching it and skipping this version.

My Grade: D


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