Child's Play (2019) Is Surprisingly Good
Written by Caelan Doyle
In this remake of the classic 1988 film of the same name, Child’s Play seizes the opportunity to make a more modern version. Here, Andy Barclay played by Gabriel Bateman, and his mom Karen Barclay is played by the always great Aubrey Plaza. After a big move that he’s not happy about, he is gifted a robotic doll (voiced by Mark Hamill) that eventually learns to kill in order to be his only friend. I was initially apprehensive going in, specifically in the new look of the doll and the new direction of the plot. However, as the movie got going, my apprehensiveness turned into joy. As soon as Mark Hamill started talking, I was sucked in. His voice acting goes above and beyond, as usual for Mark Hamill, from singing the new Buddi song to killing for his love of Andy.
In this version Chucky is a robotic friend called Buddi, invented by the company Kaslan. Kaslan is an obvious parallel to Amazon, as the “Buddi” functions as an extremely interactive toy that learns by existing, both with voice commands and seeing and processing (his eyes have cameras in them, naturally.) Instead of being possessed by a serial killer like in the previous films, a disgruntled employee at the Kaslan factory installs a chip that enables the toy to learn anything and everything.
The toys are programmed to imprint on the person they belong to and stay loyal, but with Chucky’s new chip, the loyalty quickly turns to psychopathy. He loves Andy and will do anything to make sure he’s happy, which of course eventually turns to murder. When Andy meets his new friend for the first time, you can’t help but fall in love with Chucky. He has a sweet innocence about him, from holding Andy’s hand while walking, to holding a knife while locked in a closet because he’s scared. As you probably already guessed, he goes crazy and kills anyone who is mean to Andy, ultimately leading up to him trying to kill anyone who gets in the way of them being buddies.
This take of the original definitely has its downs. The other characters weren’t that likeable, so sometimes I found myself rooting for Chucky. I haven’t even mentioned Andy’s friends or Karen’s boyfriend Shane who, surprise, Andy doesn’t like. The dislike is mutual, as Shane doesn’t like Andy OR Chucky. Because they needed to give Andy some friends that aren’t Chucky, he eventually meets some new people named Pug and Falyn, your usual fat friend and strong girl, respectively. We also have Andy’s neighbor Doreen and her son Detective Norris, who regularly visits her for dinner and gives her rides. In my opinion, they should have cut out the kid friends and just had Andy befriend his elderly neighbor, as the pair is much more likable and contribute to the plot much more.
At the climax, there is a showdown at the store that Karen works at. Andy’s friends, along with a sea of other people, are there for the release of the newest edition of Buddi, and Andy is there by punishment from his mother. Chucky is disguised as a different Buddi belonging to one of Andy’s friends Omar, who’s in this even less than Pug and is even less important. Chucky takes control of everything in the store, and tries to kill Karen, still striving to be Andy’s only friend. Andy saves her by “killing” Chucky, who then comes back for the iconic slasher final scare, but Detective Norris (who I honestly thought died from the drone with razor blades on it, but whatever) comes and saves the day, looking good for almost dying.
As I said before, I was at first unsure with the plot, especially because I am a massive fan of the original movies. But from seeing Chucky learn how to stab, to learning catchphrases to say when he does said stabbing (imagine a doll shouting “This is for Tupac!” as he joyfully kills his victim) the movie is ultimately a satisfying addition to the iconic franchise.