Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.
Those of you that know me in real life know that Child’s Play has a special place in my heart, a special spot in my soul, and also a special place in my heart. Not because I’ve seen the original an exorbitant amount of times, but if you remember when the first movie came out in 1988, those dolls sprung to life and started killing people. My mother and father were among those slain.
I’ll give you time to look it up online, but the pictures are kind of gruesome. Not just the gore, but the Asian rice bowl haircut I had as a kid.
I’m Asian in real life. This will come into play later in the review. Wait for it.
My mother and father were both named Chucky so you understand why I might still have residual feelings. You don’t? Fine.
See if your parents get filleted by a children’s toy come to life. See if you don’t get triggered when the remake comes out 31 years later.
I take that back. I don’t really want your parents to get bumped off by a doll.
I do, however, want you to see the new Child’s Play because it’s very good and you deserve to treat yourself. There is no better way to show yourself some love than watching a homicidal doll with the voice of Luke Skywalker kill boatloads of disposable people.
Child’s Play 2019 opens in a toy factory in Vietnam. They build the Buddi doll for the Kaslan toy company which is an adjunct of the Kaslan conglomerate. The Buddi doll connects with all other Kaslan products like your phone, car, refrigerator, toilet, internet, spouse, dog, cat in a way that’s not creepy or invasive, but you know, fun. Buddi will be the only buddy you need because actual people are not worth your time.
The Vietnamese man building and interfacing a new Buddi doll is getting berated for not doing a good enough job.
Remember about a dozen sentences back when I told you I’m Asian and it would come into play later. This is it.
Being criticized like that is exactly what it was like during my childhood when I got anything below an A+ on a test. So nostalgic.
Anyway, the substandard man’s boss tells him to finish the final Buddi doll and as a reward he’s fired. Substandard man then disables all the electronic safety protocols on the Buddi and throws himself off the roof of the building, plunging to his death.
We then go to a discount superstore called Zed Mart which sounds nothing like any discount superstore with the word “Mart” I’ve ever heard of. We meet a harried woman in a vest named Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza). Karen works the return area in retail, which is a horror story all its own.
Karen has an adorable tweenaged son named Andy (Gabriel Bateman). Andy wears a hearing aid. Andy and Karen have just moved into a new apartment building. It’s just Karen and Andy because Mr. Barclay is dead.
It’s okay, because Karen has a new boyfriend named Shane (David Lewis). His only purpose is to be a one-dimensional D-bag for Andy, and therefore the audience, to hate.
The Barclays also have a cat which seems to be permanently annoyed that Andy is even allowed to exist.
Andy has no friends, so he hangs out in the hallway of the apartment building and plays with his phone, bringing him to the attention of local detective Mike Norris (Bryan Tyree Henry, the spitting image of his 1988 counterpart Chris Sarandon except for the fact that he’s black). Detective Norris visits the building often to have dinner with his mother. Aww.
And what about the disturbing maintenance man (Trent Redekop) who looks like Jack Black’s older brother Zack? Those lingering closeups of him looking at Karen probably don’t mean anything,
Andy’s birthday is coming soon, so Karen’s been working a lot get him a new hearing aid. The new Buddi doll is coming soon and Zed Mart is packing the shelves for the release.
Someone has returned an old Buddi model because it’s defective. Karen blackmails her boss into giving it to her so she could give it to Andy.
Could this be the same Buddi doll from the beginning of the movie?
Yes. Yes, it is.
Karen gives Andy the doll before his birthday. Andy less than enthused because he might be too old to have dolls. But since Andy has no friends a Buddi doll is his only option.
Andy turns Buddi on and boots him up. Usually, the doll’s owner gives Buddi a name and it sticks. But this particular Buddi calls himself Chucky (now voiced by Mark Hamill) and wants to be Andy’s friend till the end. Not just till the end of the movie but till the end of time.
Little by little Andy imprints on Chucky. Chucky knows what Andy loves, what Andy hates and does his best to provide it for him. No matter what it takes.
We feel bad for Karen’s awful boyfriend (no, we don’t).
We feel bad for the cat (yeah, we do).
What Works With Child’s Play 2019
- Directed by Lars Klevberg (Polaroid) with a screenplay by Tyler Burton Smith, Child’s Play 2019 knows exactly what you’ve paid your money to see. There is no slow burn before the violence sets in. There’s a couple of beats to barely meet the characters before motherfluffers started getting dead . Love it or hate it, you won’t be looking at your watch wondering when something stabby is going to happen. As you’re watching you’ll think a lot of it is over-the-top, then you realize you’re watching a movie about a murderous doll and get over yourself.
- Mark Hamill’s Chucky is decidedly different from Brad Dourif’s and the movie is better for it. It’s almost sad what Chucky feels he needs to do to protect his friend. Yes, Chucky murders, but it’s not without some measure of sympathy. You don’t even mind a meta-reference to a previous character you might associate Mark Hamill with.
What Doesn’t Work With Child's Play (2019)
- Karen and Detective Norris barely register as characters. You wonder why the production decided to hire excellent character actors Brian Tyree Henry and Aubrey Tyree Plaza and then give them nothing to do. In the original, Mike and Karen felt like reasonably fleshed-out characters while 2019 puts them in the background.
As a standalone movie, CP19 is just a good as CP88. Some parts are better and some parts are worse, but on the whole a doll-iciously satisfying horror experience. CP19 is certainly better than Child’s Play 2 or Child’s Play 3. We can only hope a Jennifer Tilly stand in appears in the sequels.
Meg Tilly perhaps?
Buy Child's Play Here!
© 2019 Noel Penaflor