I have a mixed opinion on the Chucky films. I really like the original Child’s Play starring Catherine Hicks, but then the franchise got crazy with trash like Seed of Chucky. But hey I’ve seen franchises hit rock bottom before getting rebooted. It does make sense because after Seed of Chucky the only way to go is up. And I’m pleased to report that this Child’s Play remake is a worthy one. While it isn’t up there with the 2018 Halloween remake, it finds new ways to revamp Chucky and gives us a great lead child actor to follow through this twisted play time.
I want to start by praising Gabriel Bateman and his effective lead performance. I remember really liking him in 2016’s Lights Out, and he’s even better here. He is very easy to sympathize with and has some specific moments where he really gets to shine. These scenes give him opportunities to flex his acting muscle. For just 14 years old he has some impressive acting abilities. We also have Aubrey Plaza who plays Andy’s mother Karen. I liked Plaza and I think she did a pretty good job, it was different seeing her in a non comedic setting but she pulled it off. Brian Tyree Henry is a good fit for his role, while I wasn’t like blown away by him, he did a serviceable job. Carlease Burke, who plays Henry’s mother in the film was really great, she not only handled the horror scenes with ease but was able to get some laughs too.
Speaking of getting laughs, the film boasts some solid humor, especially in the beginning. Some of the first exchanges between Chucky and Andy provide nice comical relief and there’s even one reference that I found amusing and clever. If you know who’s in the film you’ll catch it. I appreciated the little bits of effective comedy, it just made the whole experience more fun. But believe me… it doesn’t stay funny for long.
I wasn’t quite sure how graphic or bloody the kills were going to be. Well, now I know. There are two death scenes that are pretty graphic, and then another that cuts away just before anything too bad happens. Some of the imagery used in the two more graphic death scenes is one of my complaints about the film. There’s a couple brief shots that not only go a tad far but one of them ends up being slightly comedic and elicited laughs from the audience. I didn’t think that flowed well and it felt like a strange tone clash.
There’s one more scene that kind of bothered me and I just felt it was unnecessary and uncomfortable. Towards the end there’s a moment where a man who’s been stabbed in the neck sprays blood all over a little girls face while she screams. I don’t know if this was meant to be funny or what but I found it overly gruesome and involving such a young child in that was just uncomfortable.
The ending is really strong. The finale has some pretty high stakes and is laid out well. The whole “I’ll never leave you Andy” mantra that’s played throughout the entire film comes to a boiling point. That whole focus of loyalty and destroying any and all things that seems to come in between Chucky and Andy was interesting. I liked seeing the creepy/twisted thinking process Chucky created, kind of a fatal attraction type thing.
Overall, while there were a couple moments that were uncomfortable to me, Child’s Play is a worthy remake. Good remakes take the basis of the original and add in their own spice. They update the story but still keep the classic feel to it. This film is able to pull that off and it keeps you engaged throughout the whole run time. Oh… and I can’t forget to applaud Mark Hamill’s voicework, he makes for a very convincing Chucky!
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