HOLLYWOOD—You might think I’m joking, but what I’m about to tell you is NO JOKE! Growing up I had a toy known as My Buddy. It looked just like Chucky when the original “Child’s Play” came out in 1988. Fast-forward to nearly 30 years later and we have a remake to that iconic classic, this time with Mark Hamill voicing the killer doll, over Brad Douriff. Would I have ever expected Hamill to have the ability to voice a serial killing doll? Not in a million years, but the guy can be menacing to say the least.
For this 21st century reboot, Chucky doesn’t look so Chucky if you ask me. I think the Chucky in the 1988 version was far more realistic than the one depicted here. This is a case where technological advancements aren’t always better, especially in the case of dolls. I do like the narrative approach, where we live in a society where everything is controlled by technology. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: technology will be the death of us because we rely on it too much. Just think of the world we live in now where everything is ‘smart.’ However, is it so smart when things start malfunctioning?
That is precisely what happens with one of the Buddi dolls from the Kaslan Corporation. These dolls are meant to be life-long companions to their owners and can assist all Kaslan products. This introduces our audience to the primary players Andy (Gabriel Bateman) and his mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza). I do like that Andy was aged a bit for this remake and he has a hearing impairment. It makes Andy’s plight and situation more of an emotional trigger for the audience.
Like the original, Karen gifts Andy a Buddi doll as an early birthday present. All seems fine at first, until Andy picks up that something is wrong with Chucky. Of course, there is the denial from everyone noting a doll could do no such thing like commit a murder, but when bodies begin to drop, the chaos emerges in a big way. Here’s the big difference between the original and this remake: the suspense factor is lacking. In the 1988 version, there was massive suspense leading to the big reveal that our protagonists realized something was indeed off with the doll. Here, Andy and his friends already know something is off; they are just working overtime to convince the adults of it.
Some of the kills are vicious to say the least, but that doesn’t help the movie in my personal opinion. As a fan of the original, I like the relationship building that occurred between Andy and Chucky; here we get it in small doses, but not enough to fully sever the tie between the duo. It’s like Andy always knew something was off with Chucky, and this just gave him more reason to dismantle the evil doll. Hamill is indeed menacing crafting a voice, while not quite Douriff’s it gets the job done.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the 1988 version of “Child’s Play” gave the audience an iconic and scary villain. It was the subsequent sequels that killed the lore of Chucky if you ask me. While a likeable reboot, this new version brings nothing fresh to the table that makes me say, “Hmm, that was a far better version than the classic.” It entertains, but “Child’s Play” won’t leave you afraid to look at a doll at night.