Child’s Play: Creepy Reboot Has Good Gore, Dark Humor

3 out of 5 stars (average)

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Child’s Play is one of the better modern horror remakes.  A reboot of the ongoing slasher series about a kids’ toy possessed by a serial killer, this film trades in the supernatural for technological horror and has unexpected dark humor.  Add iconic voice actor Mark Hamill as Chucky and a good human cast, and Child’s Play is the sentient toy movie for gore-heads this summer.

Apple-esque company Kaslan has Buddi, a piece of technology that can learn your routine and remotely operate all your Kaslan products (think of a more advanced Alexa).  Working mom Karen (Aubrey Plaza) has just moved to Chicago with her phone-obsessed son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) and abusive boyfriend Shane (David Lewis).  Karen gets Andy a Buddi doll named Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill) for an early birthday gift to diffuse the tension, and all seems well.  Unfortunately, Chucky develops murderous tendencies after watching violent movies and vows to “help” Andy by killing all who hurt him.  Now, Andy must convince Karen and the kind cop next door (a solid Bryan Tyree Henry) of Chucky’s plans before it’s too late.

Child’s Play is like Small Soldiers if told by Black Mirror.  Exchanging voodoo magic for sentient technology makes it more relevant for the modern day, and the gore and dark humor are heightened.  The cast interacts solidly with the Chucky doll (a mixture of animatronics and CG), and Mark Hamill joyfully makes the role his own.  As for flaws, Chucky’s redesign is more reminiscent of Annabelle in the Conjuring movies than a children’s toy, the characters lack depth, and the dark humor sadly evaporates during the climax.  Despite minor issues, Child’s Play is a fun, darkly humorous techno-slasher with gory kills and a brisk pace.  See it.

Rated R for Bloody Horror Violence and Language Throughout.  PS: A father brought his young child to my screening, and the kid was freaked out.  PLEASE DON’T BRING YOUR KIDS.

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