“Time to play”
RELEASED: June 21st 2019
DIRECTED BY: Lars Klevberg
WRITTEN BY: Tyler Burton Smith
PRODUCED BY: David Katzenberg & Seth Grahame-Smith
MUSIC BY: Bear McCreary
STARRING: Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, David Lewis, Carlease Burke & Mark Hamill
Full disclosure, I’ve never watched any of the Child’s Play/Chucky movies before this one. But I feel like this was a bad place to start, because this is a very weird film.
Child’s Play follows Andy, a young kid (played by Gabriel Bateman) living with his young mother, Karen (Aubrey Plaza), whose birthday is coming up soon. Low on money, Karen manages to acquire a faulty ‘Buddi’ toy doll from her workplace, which names itself Chucky, and becomes more and more violent and possessive as their relationship develops.
From a general film-making, storytelling point-of-view, this film is fine for the first two acts. It’s enjoyable enough; the characters are mildly entertaining and there are some funny moments.
Unfortunately, the further the film progresses, the worse the film becomes. New characters are introduced who struggle to be likeable or interesting, and existing characters lose any of the charm they held at the start of the film, thanks to a rather trope-filled and uninteresting script.
From a horror perspective, the film falters even more, as it becomes clear, the further the film gets, that despite a few gory moments, the story is rather devoid of any real sense of danger or scale. While, obviously, horror movies don’t have to be all about the gore or murder, this one is severely lacking in it, and after a point, lacks any sense of tension or atmosphere that a stronger horror movie would contain.
However, perhaps the biggest problem I found with the film was Chucky himself. While Mark Hamill manages to deliver some creepy lines, the doll itself never feels like a real, physical thing. Any time the camera focuses on its face, it always looks rather off – and not in an unsettling, horror movie sort of way – so much as a disconnected, not-really-there sort of way.
Furthermore, the whole basis for the film; that the doll isn’t possessed like in previous Child’s Play movies, so much as just tampered with and subsequently faulty, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you think about it.
Why is a company making these A.I.-run dolls that are strong enough to leap through the air, tie people up, sprint around and kill people? In a better movie, it could be overlooked, but in this one it just seems strange.
Overall, I didn’t hate this movie. The first two thirds were fine. But when the third act fails to deliver, it becomes clear that this movie will probably not be the successful franchise rebooter that the producers no doubt wanted it to be.
All-in-all, I give Child’s Play: