Now at its halfway point, 2019 has given moviegoers remarkable films to end the decade with. To name some examples, M. Night Shyamalan brought us Glass, David F. Sandberg introduced us to Shazam!, the Russo Brothers gave us Avengers: Endgame and Jordan Peele had….well, Us.
This June, we venture into a movie about an animated toy once owned by a child named Andy, and in this article, it’s not what you think. As the title suggests, there will be no spoilers in this piece, but do take the following with a grain of salt.
The seven original Child’s Play films from 1988 to 2017 involved a serial killer named Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray transferring his soul into a children’s doll via voodoo spell and venturing off into horrific feats, which included tormenting a boy named Andy Barclay, Chucky’s old flame Tiffany, and a wheelchair-bound woman named Nica.
This 2019 reboot retains the whimsical yet beyond-creepy color scheme of rainbow hues from the first three films of the franchise along with a key element of 2017’s Cult of Chucky. This year’s Child’s Play takes the horrors of technological advancement and artificial intelligence (as shown excellently in the Terminator franchise and Black Mirror) and gives you a living doll made by tampered software. In this movie, a young boy (also named Andy) gets a doll, which he ends up calling “Chucky,” as an early birthday present.
The difference between this film and the originals of the franchise is that Chucky genuinely wants to be Andy’s “best friend.” However, it expresses negative emotions whenever another living posing as Andy’s friend gets in its way or when Andy is hurt in any way possible. There is no doubt that Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series, Regular Show) succeeds at voicing such a malevolent icon of the slasher horror genre. If you have not seen him as the Joker in the 1990s’ Batman cartoon, put watching it on your summer to-do list.
What the film lacks is development in its supporting characters such as Aubrey Plaza’s Karen and Brian Tyree Henry’s Detective Mike. The two actors have potential, and their roles in the movie seem like they could have been expanded. Plaza and Henry have both made names for themselves in Hollywood (the former in Scott Pilgrim and Parks and Recreation, the latter in Atlanta and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). Their performances were good, but I would love to see what would happen if they had more screentime.
The movie has its CGI problems here and there, and its off-screen kills prevent us from getting that full frightening feel. Although, when other kills were shown ON screen, they were a gruesome sight to see. Such deaths suggest that bad things happen to men with the worst of vices. The doll doesn’t scare us by its looks but instead by what it does in the entirety of the story.
From the start, Child’s Play reminds viewers that how we treat or speak about ourselves and others has its consequences, and for those in Andy’s life, it can be quite life-threatening. In addition, the film teaches us–and I cannot stress this enough–that we must continue employing the buddy system in our lives. We should never be alone no matter the circumstance. This film is produced by David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith, who also produced It: Chapter One back in 2017, a movie which also holds a theme about togetherness and friendship.
As mentioned before, this film emphasizes the downside to the use of technology and our dark romanticization of it. Everybody is preoccupied with their phones. Tesla and Google created self-driving cars. Surveillance has always an issue, and our visual and audio secrets are prone to be uncovered by anyone. Are we actually controlling technology, or is it really taking control of us? The writers attempt to highlight this, and we do so by the final act. Throughout the film, Chucky gets various upgrades, and by the end, we get a somewhat predictable last scene because…well, technology. It doesn’t allow us or, rather, its characters to have a proper closure in case it so happens that a sequel was to be set up, but that’s all up in the cloud for now. Regardless of how Chucky comes to life, he will always remain the scariest killer doll in cinema.
Where Child’s Play attempts at providing horror fans a plotline with development in its characters, it succeeds in its primary objective: scare the heck out of its audiences. For that, I’d give this movie a 6.5 out of 10.
Will you face your fears and check out this new horror reboot? Let us know! Child’s Play is out in theaters today. For more horror-related news and reviews, follow The Cinema Spot on Twitter (@TheCinemaSpot) and Instagram (@thecinemaspot_).