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Child’s Play (2019)

June 26th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

I’ve got a bunch of conflicting feelings about the new reimagining of CHILD’S PLAY. I loved the beginning of the movie, hated the middle and then somehow regained my original affection for the film’s gleefully bonkers ending. My most positive endorsements would be for BEAR McCREARY’s absolutely phenomenal score  (he’s batting a thousand after wowing recently with GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS) and MARK HAMILL’s wonderfully acute voiceover work as the killer doll. When these two combine their talents for a theme song, which plays over the closing credits, it’s truly sublime (I find myself longing for the soundtrack no matter my overall mixed feelings). In general the movie looks great too and the crisp, colorful cinematography does a persuasive job of harkening back to many a fright flick from the late eighties. I found myself sitting so securely on this summer coaster throughout its first half but damn, I really did fall out of the cart during a too long bubble of time at the midpoint and really had to scramble to climb back on board.

What most differentiates this take from the original mold is that Chucky the killer doll is no longer nuts due to a voodoo possession and is now a robot who was purposely programmed to cause havoc thanks to a disgruntled (and suicidal) factory worker.  This allows the story to stoke fears of technology out of control and taking over our daily lives but it also strangely adds a level of sympathy for the faulty doll. I haven’t felt so bad for a robot since HALEY JOEL OSMENT was abandoned in the forest by his mother in A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELIGENCE (2001). I really loved getting to know this new childlike version of Chucky and found myself relating to him when his glitchy brain would confuse a roll of toilet paper for a science book. The poor guy is like a malfunctioning Casper the friendly ghost and I cared more about that than any of the film’s BLACK MIRROR-esque future fretting. I kept thinking about how Chucky was like an animal taken in and loved by new owners who can’t stop misbehaving due to no fault of its own (sort of like KRISTY McNICHOL’s wrenching dilemma in WHITE DOG). I also have to say Chucky’s eerie uncanny valley visual overhaul worked well with drumming up my sympathies.

Where the movie fails for me is on the script level in the human character department. GABRIEL BATEMAN is fine as Andy and has got an Elliot in E.T. thing going for him but I found all his friends annoying and AUBREY PLAZA (who rules in INGRID GOES WEST) comes off more like a sarcastic babysitter than a believable maternal figure (Maybe I’m just showing my age here though and that I should get used to adults acting like snarky teens). There’s a bit where Andy must hide a grisly trophy that Chucky has gifted him that zapped me out of the entire move. It’s played like a THREE’s COMPANY mix-up and it still irks my head to think about it because it could have been so much better simplified. The entire segment feels forced, and first draft clunky. I’ve also found out that for some reason I’m highly bothered by the juxtaposition of Christmas lights and watermelons (who knew?). After much thought, though I have to admit that my sudden distaste for the movie occurred directly after Chucky kills a cat so maybe on a subconscious level I was kicking back at that peeve for a spell and you might want to take my disdain with a grain of salt.

.Even though I’m also not a huge fan of drones being shoe-horned into modern remakes (see also POLTERGEIST), I did end up coming around to enjoy the gleeful mayhem in the film’s chaotic climax. I’m going to thank a fuzzy bear-like version of the killer doll who shows up for talking me down off the ledge with his mere presence. I really wish that I was able to have as much fun with this movie as others seem to be experiencing but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for me. It does seem to be the type of thing I’ll give another chance in the future when I’m not so sensitive (truly, I recently watched INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS and the constant cat peril within made it more nerve-rattling than SILENCE OF THE LAMBS for me). Full disclosure, I may have also been swayed by a pang of free-floating guilt for disloyally crossing original creator DON MANCINI’s invisible picket line even though I justified the act by using my REGAL ticket earnings to see it for free (I didn’t give them a cent, DON! I swear!)

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t listen to me because I have too many issues to count so maybe go and decide for yourself. On some level I almost believe that it’s worth it for the score alone; just don’t tell my cats (or DON MANCINI) I said that.

Tags: General Horror




3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 raphaeladidasNo Gravatar // Jun 26, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for the warning about the cat. I was going to see it when it hit Netflix (I still get discs) but I’ll pass.

    NO thank you for reminding me there was a Poltergeist remake. I honestly had completely forgotten it.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jul 3, 2019 at 11:44 am

    raphaeladidas,

    It’s crazy how forgettable that POLTERGEIST movie was. Especially considering how great Sam Rockwell is in it. I hear they’re going to try it again soon and I guess people not remembering it will be a plus in that case.

    I didn’t hate this CHILD’S PLAY but I certainly didn’t enjoy it as much as the last two sequels. I love CURSE OF CHUCKY a lot and it works both as a continuation and a reboot.

  • 3 Peach6972No Gravatar // Jul 7, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    dnt like how he looks…i like the old chucky

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