“Child’s Play” and “Chucky” so permeated our consciousness as to become cultural punchlines that outlived his 20 year run in horror films, beginning in 1988.
We know what to expect when we hear about a reboot and clap our hands in glee at the slaughter to come — the creative ways this evil, cunning doll finds to kill.
So the creators of this reboot can be forgiven for having no patience for little inconveniences like tension, fear and suspense. They want what they figure their audience wants. Let’s commence to slaughtering!
But while some might be inclined to ignore those thriller prerequisites because, well the beloved Mark Hamill is voicing the demon doll this time and the fanboy fave Aubrey Plaza plays the mom menaced by the toy she gives her kid, I won’t.
“Child’s Play” is perfunctory. The script spends far more time making this “AI” enabled doll plausible, and far too little setting up cloud-connected Chucky’s choice of victims and means of dispatching those who would stand between him and his “Best buddy,” Andy (Gabriel Bateman).
The “Buddi” doll has become a toy store sensation, an interactive companion who “learns” and “imprints” on his child owner, singing that the kid is “more than a buddy. You’re my best friend…You are my buddy until the END!”
Skip past the terminal, threatening “I will NEVER let you go” messaging there and imagine Mark Hamill singing. Love the guy, but hey, replacing Pierce Brosnan in the “Mama Mia” franchise isn’t in the cards.
We see that Mom (Plaza) is divorced and making a bad choice in her new town/new beau (David Lewis). We see there’s a testy cat named Rooney — Andy or Mickey? I forget.
Aaaaaaaand, we know what’s coming.
It comes so fast that Plaza has little chance to vamp her character into the perky promiscuity that’s become her screen trademark.
“Yes, I have a child. I had a very productive ‘Sweet Sixteen.'”
Making the kid far too old to want anything to do with a doll was a mistake. Hi-tech or no, once the tween has met other kids in the building, that thing should stay in the closet, never to be seen again.
Buddi, renamed “Chucky” by the doll himself, doesn’t LIKE the closet.
One of the kids Andy meets (Beatrice Kitsos) makes the second best joke here, pushing the picture’s sci-fi connections when she sees the doll “learning.”
“Can I just point out that this is how every Robot Apocalypse begins?”
Yes, you can. But that doesn’t alter what is essentially a slasher pic about a doll no human being other than Kim Jong Un would want in the house with them, killing and killing again, a doll who holds grudges and a doll who skips past “cuddly” and cuts straight to the cutting up.
MPAA Rating: R for bloody horror violence, and language throughout
Cast: Aubrey Plaza , Gabriel Bateman, Bryan Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson and the voice of Mark Hamill as “Chucky.”
Credits: Directed by Lars Klevberg, script by Tyler Burton Smith. An Orion release.
Running time: 1:30