Child's Play was a series that started in the 80's but was popularized in the 90's. This series garnered a lot of attention due to, like most horror movie franchises, it's villain. Charles Lee Ray, otherwise known as Chucky the Doll, became a horror movie icon as the films reached peak fame, and gained a cult following over the years. Now in the age of we-need-to-reboot-everything-because-all-the-original-ideas-are-gone filmmaking, Chucky movies have been the most recent in an attempt to capture the nostalgia of audiences. So does this movie succeed? Kind of, but not for the reasons you might think. Slight spoilers here but honestly, what is there to spoil here?
The original Child's Play was about a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray who used magic to transfer his soul into a children's doll. He spent the rest of the movie (and it's various sequels) trying to implant his soul into a small child so he wouldn't be forever trapped in the body of the doll.
The idea of a possessed doll isn't anything new. One of the more popular modern horror movie franchises is The Conjuring universe, with a subsection of that being Annabelle, films about a possessed doll. Even still, the idea of a living man using magic to embody a doll's body would be pretty campy by todays standards. So how do we fix this?
I understand why they did this. I really do, I get why they felt the need to modernize Chucky for current audiences. The main problem here is that it's not Chucky anymore. When you take away the personality, the motives, and the skillset of the original character, is it even the same character?
Compare this to the 1998 Godzilla film. There is nothing there to make you recognize that monstrosity as Godzilla. At the time people called him GINO (Godzilla In Name Only), and that's basically what this is to me, CINO.
That being said, Chucky essentially being an accessory to a smart home gives him a lot more stuff to do than he's ever had to do in other movies. Chucky feels like a legitimate threat in this film, and it feels like he could actually be a serious threat to society and not just a doll that could be punted across the room like a football.
The Movie Itself
So is the movie itself good? Kind of. Like Ma, it made me laugh more than it scared me. I think a lot of horror movies have a hard time finding this middle ground between comedy and horror, and this movie definitely leans more to the comedic side. Most of the horror related stuff in this movie has really loud jump scares associated with it, so that's a big thumbs down from me.
The actors actually do an okay job. Aubrey Plaza isn't given a lot to work with, but she does her best. This isn't really her movie. Whereas the older Child's Play movie focuses on Andy and his mother almost evenly, this remake focuses far more heavily on Andy as he starts to lose more and more control over Chucky's actions. The kid playing Andy is also doing a pretty good job, I wouldn't mind seeing him in other movies in the future.
Something that should have been taken out of the movie completely are most of the side characters. The cop doesn't really bother me that much, but Andy's two little friends are god awful, especially the boy, Pugg. He's such a bad child actor, and when the three of them have dialogue together, it's really clear that this movie was written by an adult man who hasn't heard children speak to each other in about 10 years.
Chucky is one of my favorite horror movie villains. He kind of reminds me of Freddy Krueger in the sense that he actually has a personality and isn't just a braindead killing machine. This new movie strips a lot of that away, but Mark Hamill still manages to give him some expressive moments through his voice acting. This movie doesn't improve on the franchise, but rather looks at it from a new angle. An updated version of a cult classic, that for once I can say I wasn't completely offended by. Hey, it's better than Ma.