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'Child's Play' - A Horror Remake That Works

Benjamin Wollmuth is a lover of literature who enjoys sharing his thoughts on everything from movies and video games to books and music.

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Child's Play

Let's be honest here... I really enjoy the first Child's Play film. It's cheesy and definitely not scary, but I love it. I also really like the Chucky films that had a straight-to-DVD release. So, I was skeptical when I heard that a remake to the 1988 original was being made because...

1). The Chucky franchise was still going strong with the direct to Netflix films.

2). I did not think the cheesiness of the original would work in a modern horror film.

However, I am pleased to say that the creators of this film did a fine job at making the film fit into this modern horror movie era. It mixes comedy with some pretty tense moments, as well as manages to not take the killer doll premise too seriously while also taking it serious enough to not be cringy. This is the best horror film I have seen since Us, which sucks because there have been a decent amount of horror films released since March. They just have not been that good. So, I am happy that I walked out of this film with a grin on my face.

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The Scares

The new design for Chucky is creepy as hell. This time around he is an AI, programmed with all of his safety measures off because his programmer was fired before completing the doll. Chucky then finds his way to Andy, and the weirdness begins. Mark Hamill's voice fits very well with the sinister doll. The voice has a sense of ease while also sounding deadly. Due to the fact that Chucky is an AI, his movements are more robotic, and he walks by himself without having to be possessed by the soul of a serial killer. Taking the safety measures off made the doll act sort of like a child that doesn't understand that violence is bad. Chucky will do whatever he can to make Andy, his best buddy, happy. The creators of the film use modern ideas such as humans' craving for technology and how obsessed they can become about it, while also playing with the idea of AI becoming too smart for humanity to handle. This could seem like an overused scenario, but to me, it works. The film has some awesome kills and not as many jump scares as I expected, which I was perfectly okay with. The scariest part about the film is the design for Chucky and how he acts. I find his face horrifying, and I have no clue if that was the creators' intentions. His creepy smile and big eyes give me the chills, yet in a way, he is kind of cute, which leads me to my next topic.

Why Do I Feel Bad For This Doll?

I should not feel bad for a murderous, sadistic toy... but I do. Let's be honest here: this is an AI that had the program designed to understand violence is not okay turned off. As I said before, Chucky is like a child that doesn't understand— or rather can't understand—that violence is not the answer. He is trying his best to keep Andy happy, getting rid of the people in Andy's life who make Andy feel miserable. On multiple occasions, Chucky cries out to Andy asking why Andy is trying to destroy him. I interpreted these as genuine cries, not a killer trying to fake sadness to be set free. This is a powerful AI that is incapable of understanding what's right and wrong, and he becomes confused when his "best buddy" tries to hurt him. It's actually kind of sad the more I think about it, and I think Mark Hamill's voice work is what helps bring this level of characterization to the killer doll.

So, I feel bad for the doll, but I don't feel bad for some of the people that died. Two of the people, to be exact. Now, don't get me wrong - I am not a sadist. I don't find pleasure in watching people die... in real life, that is. In movies, however, I find myself cheering for the death of a certain character. The first of Chucky's victims was a man named Shane, Andy's mom's "boyfriend," and this guy is kind of an asshole. Firstly, he is very rude towards Andy for no apparent reason. Secondly, he has two kids and a wife whom he is cheating on with Andy's mom. So, when Chucky chooses him as his first target, I didn't really feel bad. The second kill was a janitor who works in the apartment building Andy and his mother are living in. We find out later in the film that this janitor, who oddly looks like Jack Black, has hidden cameras all over the complex so he can spy on women. When this revelation was made, I once again didn't feel bad about his death. There are other deaths in the film that are completely unjustified, but these first two kills really stuck out to me. Did I mention they were very gruesome?

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What Didn't I Like?

It's not that I HATED anything in this film... there are just some things I found confusing; things I would have changed. Andy's new friends that he makes in the film are cliches: annoying teenagers who seem to not care about a lot of things. That is until the very end when they decide they do care about Andy and want to help him.

Chucky's ability to control other electronics created by the same company that created him, the Kaslan Corporation, was a fun and creative addition to the film that helped make Chucky more than just one killer doll. However, towards the end of the film, it almost seems that he can control anything and everything inside the store the final act takes place in. Unless the film is trying to say that Kaslan controls everything and that they are an evil company who wants power (which I doubt is the case, but you never know), Chucky should have the ability to control the lights, security doors, or even Andy's hearing aid.

Speaking of Andy's hearing aid... I really don't think that it played that much of an importance in the film. I feel that the hearing aid was in the film just to aid in giving Andy some character development.

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Final Thoughts

All gripes aside, this was a very enjoyable film. It was a film that knew and understood what it was. It took risks changing up so much from the 1988 original, yet it succeeds in creating a different film that still takes similar ideas from the source material. The performances were all around well done, especially Mark Hamill. When it comes to horror movies, it wasn't very scary, but it did make me tense up at some moments. Overall, if Jordan Peele hadn't released Us this year, Child's Play would have been the best horror movie of the year so far. With that being said, I am going to give Child's Play a 9/10. If you are a horror fan and/or a fan of the Chucky franchise, I highly recommend giving this movie a try.

'Annabelle Comes Home' is releasing soon, so I have to ask...

© 2019 Benjamin Wollmuth