CHILD’S PLAY Review – This Reboot Is Harmless Fun

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Staci Layne Wilson’s Child’s Play review says this new take on the devil doll casts Chucky as Alexa’s redheaded stepchild.

Child's Play ReviewPretty much everyone has seen the 1988 original Child’s Play and if you’re not into horror films, then you must at least know who “Chucky” the killer doll is. He’s permeated our pop culture to the point of meme stardom and was even featured in Steven Spielberg’s recent blockbuster Ready Player One.

The new Chucky has gotten a facelift, but he’s not any prettier. In fact, he’s downright creepy and not terribly believable as the redheaded stepchild of Alexa. You see, Chucky is now a smart-device and he’s the must-have toy for kids everywhere.

When 12-year-old Andy (Gabriel Bateman) is lucky enough to score last year’s “Buddi” model through his mom Karen’s (Aubrey Plaza) connections at the department store where she works, everyone else’s luck runs out. Before long, tenants in the apartment building where they live find themselves… not living at all.

But who needs believability in a horror flick? This is not, after all, a movie made for adults (in spite of its R-rating). When it comes to the carnage, there are kills-a-plenty and some of them are quite kooky and entertaining. Inspired by a viewing of the classic Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Chucky goes all Leatherface on a bad guy and then drapes the skin of his face over a watermelon (and it’s later given to a black person… don’t know what the filmmakers were trying to say there, but I thought it was in poor taste).

Plaza, whose character certainly won’t be winning any Mother of the Year Awards, is likable in spite of Karen’s cluelessness. Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky straddles the lines between innocent plaything and devil-doll well enough.

Bateman gives his all in scenes ranging from sweet to scary; while I felt the boy was too old to want a doll (maybe Chucky should have been rebooted as an action figure), the kid’s chops as an actor won me over. My favorite person in the film, Tim Matheson as the CEO of the company that makes the smart-toys, was woefully underutilized. I do hope that he has a more prominent role in the inevitable sequel.

In spite of a few eye-roller lines, Child’s Play really is harmless fun and it’s not a bad test-run for the release of what looks to be the superior killer doll movie of 2019, Annabelle Comes Home (which will be released next week).

Rated R
2 Hours

If, after reading this Child’s Play review you’re dying to see it, get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

Staci Layne Wilson’s Child’s Play review says this new take on the devil doll casts Chucky as Alexa’s redheaded stepchild.

 

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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