The dust may have settled since the Child’s Play remake was released but the elephant is still clearly standing in the room. This is definitely not a Child’s Play movie.
The vague premise is still there, but there’s no Damballa VooDoo chant, and no rebirth of notorious serial killer, Charles Lee Ray hell bent on stealing a child’s soul and be reborn again.
What’s more, there’s no Brad Dourif providing his nuanced vocal contributions that have become so synonymous with the Chucky character since he was first introduced to movie going audiences back in 1988.
As a horror fan who lived and breathed the golden slasher era of the 80s, it admittedly was hard to come into this modern interpretation without applying my own prejudices and even with the inclusion of the new hope, Mark Hamill to provide the voice, it somehow didn’t feel right to me and whilst I’m fairly open to creating new avenues in a well-established franchise, I struggled to connect with the producers and director’s interpretation this time around. It was as if the personality had been completely stripped out of it and ironically enough the soul of the movie was no longer present. The Damballa failed to inject a new Chucky into the horror mainstream.
With that aside, what are we actually left with? A bitter employee who deliberately sabotages a Chucky doll, in order to bring down the toy company who treated him so poorly, and does so by disabling the Asimov Law that robots can not harm humans. Cue anarchy and bloody mayhem as our new Chucky learns how to be human, including its darkest traits. With no filter, Chucky goes on a rampage in order to be Andy’s best friend.
Speaking of Andy, actor Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle, Lights Out) more than holds his own as the lead protagonist and we do emote with his plight. It’s just a shame that tonally the movie doesn’t go dark enough for us to feel that he is ever in immediate danger. Nor does it inject any decent humour as the franchise has become known for despite the odd moments from Chucky and Detective Mike on occasion. I also would have loved for the creatives to allow Aubrey Plaza who plays Andy’s mum to instal her usual dry, deadpan wit into the proceedings to spice things up a bit.
The death scenes themselves were a little subpar too, whilst Shane’s skinned face moment was kinda cool, you can’t go past this glorious lawn mower death scene in the horror genre in my opinion.
And the whole Mike’s mum trapped in the car thing was just dumb.
By the time all this unfolds we get the climax at the shopping mall, when the Chucky dolls come out in a frenzy (and the bear dolls were kinda fun, but ultimately lacklustre), to orchestrate a face/off (No pun intended, sorry Shane) between Chucky and Andy in order to save his Mum… blah blah blah.
No creator Don Mancini and it shows.
No Brad Dourif and it shows.
No dark and twisted humour to keep the horror fans satiated.
Just a soulless attempt bring the franchise to a modern audience with a vague attempt at commenting on the social media / connected world that we currently reside in and the dangers that lurk within.
But with no personality, we’re left wanting.
Roll on the Chucky tv series.
- Saul Muerte