Child’s Play is far better than you’d expect and isn’t a rehash of the original giving us a modern look at the character of Chucky which for the most part works well and Mark Hamill steals the show.
Plot: After moving to a new city, young Andy Barclay receives a special present from his mother — a seemingly innocent Buddi doll that becomes his best friend. When the doll suddenly takes on a life of its own, Andy unites with other neighborhood children to stop the sinister toy from wreaking bloody havoc.
Review: Let’s face it, the original Child’s Play isn’t exactly high art with some questionable performances so when it was announced we were getting a remake I was indifferent. I’ve always loved Chucky however, and thought Brad Dourif’s voicework was perfect for the character and when I was a kid he was bloody terrifying. When I heard the new voice of Chucky was going to be Mark Hamill I became more interested and wondered how he would play the role.
Thankfully this new iteration has plenty that’s different from the original movie and takes it in a bold new direction so it doesn’t just feel like a lazy rehash; Hamill knocks it out of the park and although he isn’t quite as menacing as Dourif he gives the character his own voice (literally). I do miss that laugh though…
Child’s Play works very much for a modern audience as it says a lot about modern technology and our reliance on it. It also demonstrates how watching violence on screen can have an influence on certain people. Chucky is no longer possessed by serial killer Charles Lee Ray; this time a disgruntled employee has programmed him wrong so he is built to learn. His defects mean he will fight for Andy’s friendship and get rid of anyone he sees as a threat.
When the kids are sitting watching Texas Chainsaw 2 Chucky is soaking it all up and thinking this is normal behavior only wanting to please Andy; not sure why they were watching all the scenes out of order in the movie which was odd.
It takes a while for the killing to start but the movie is just under 90 minutes so we get to know the characters and care for them with Andy being especially sympathetic. It’s pretty tightly paced and there isn’t a scene that feels like it could be cut out. When the bodies start to hit the floor it doesn’t skimp on gore with some imaginative kills; one involving a lawnmower was especially satisfying.
I felt a little guilty that I was pretty much on Chucky’s side for a lot of the time as the first guy he kills 100% deserved it but as it went on you realize that the little doll is just nuts and needs to be destroyed.
It isn’t especially scary going more for gore rather than jump scares but it’ still pretty effective.
Bear McCreary’s score is fantastic and the Buddi song haunts your mind for days after watching.
Overall, Child’s Play is an inventive re-imagining that is different enough from the original as to not piss off fans of the Dourif classic. Hamill is excellent as the new Chucky and there are some entertaining kills making this a remake that’s worth checking out.