Child’s Play (2019): It’s Like the Original Without the Charisma or Memorability

Child’s Play 2019 is Orion Pictures’ puny attempt at reining in the big bucks with a notorious property name and character while going through the basic motions of its source material and affixing on futuristic technology baloney that nobody earnestly wanted or asked for, all doing so with as minimal effort as possible. How is it that with a higher budget this production company managed to not make a product more ample than at least a majority of the original Chucky sequels including the new straight to VOD ones?  Lars Klevberg’s reinvigoration of the fun-size, synthetic murder is about the cinematic equivalent of Miley Cyrus’ cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. Hey, at least the original series is still apparently going strong with a TV show on the way as well! Live on Don Mancini and Brad Dourif!

I really wasn’t a fan of Chucky in this movie. I do appreciate that they have essentially modified his character entirely, but he wasn’t particularly frightening. And, he didn’t have to be, because let’s be honest, Brad Dourif’s Chucky isn’t scary either, but the reason why his rendering of Chucky works is because there’s charisma and an idiosyncratic persona to him. Chucky is just a jealous A.I. robot now, who malfunctions. It’s a robotic, lifeless, and entirely uninteresting elucidation of such an iconic horror figure and it’s about everything you wouldn’t want to see come to such a fetching individual. 

Chucky’s one-liners don’t even work in this reboot because they’re just repeated lines from the kids or movies that he overhears which makes him seem more transparent and undistinguished. Mark Hamill’s voice acting in this is fine, but there’s nothing awfully imposing about it, it just gets the job done. I don’t know, I just wish that this movie urged itself to go far and beyond the average. I cherish seeing movies that, at the very least, try to push past its requirements, especially remakes—which should, at this point, be required to do so anyhow.

Chucky’s “look” also…sucks. And not because it appears feverishly different from the original’s features, but because it just doesn’t look buyable. I could never imagine a kid wanting to play with a doll that is as ugly and as contorted as the Buddi dolls in this movie. Additionally, the CGI/animated inclusions of his movements truly looked atrocious. Fun Fact: Practical effects win 97.2% of the time on average.

They’ve transformed Andy and Chucky’s relationship into John Connor and the Terminator’s relationship from T2: Judgment Day. This rework’s newly endeavored story between the two personalities has the wit of a Disney Channel original movie, except, crammed into an R-rated film. It’s sort of embarrassing how immature the story is in this revamp. It faintly reminded me of the writing in one of the more recent Black Mirror episodes, “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too.” These R-rated properties need to start having more “mature” leveled schemes and fewer G-rated leveled narratives.

This movie is just not so festive in the end. It’s serviceably shot, and Bear McCreary’s score can be quite epic at times, but even a majority of Chucky fans I don’t think will get a whole lot of fulfillment out of this one. I mean there’s like two decent kills in the film, and that’s about it. The ending, also, is sooooooooo anti-climactic. Booooooooooo! Give me more half-witted, brain-numbing violence you expensive, studio-controlled remake!

You’d think with a larger studio of talents they could at least make something worthy to its lionized parent films. Yet, the 2019 Child’s Play somehow manages to have a poorer script, substandard editing, an abysmal layout, pacing that’s rushingly sloppy, and just the most expressionless of intentions. Child’s Play 2019, at the end of the day, is forgettable. And you can say what you want about the other Chucky movies and how bad they are, but the reason for why they work for horror and satire fan-a-holics is because that iconic slasher character is repeatedly memorable in every film he’s in. Nothing in this movie is even exemplary—okay, except maybe Aubrey Plaza but that’s a given. Time to say goodnight to or put the knife down on unnecessary horror remakes forever, okay? Burry that s***, will ya?

Verdict: D+ 

This Movie is a Part of My List: Ranking the Child’s Play Films From Best to Worst

“Child’s Play” is now playing in theaters.

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