I missed this one in theaters so creepy doll week was the perfect excuse to finally get around to watching this remake of the classic horror movie. There was a lot of hubbub about this remake because the original Child’s Play creator, Don Mancini, wasn’t involved in any way and he is still making more movies with Chucky in the original universe. However, I will say that a robot that goes bad is probably a better choice than a serial killer that uses voodoo to put his soul in a doll if you want to make an actual horror movie.
In this movie, the Buddi doll is a web 2.0 home system integrated robot that is supposed to be like if the Amazon Alexa was able to walk around. When a worker at the Vietnam factory where they are being made gets fired, he decides to strip all the safety protocols out of the doll he was working on because if you’re getting fired I guess take your frustration out on some random child that will end up with a murder doll instead of the asshole boss. Andy ends up getting the defective doll as a present from his struggling single mother and Chucky, as he names himself, imprints super hard onto Andy. All he wants to do is play with his best friend and anyone that gets in the way of that friendship or makes him upset is in Chucky’s crosshairs. This time around he isn’t just a killer doll, though. Now he has full control over all Kaslan electronics, the stand-in for Google/Amazon.
While the movie definitely pays homage to the original film; it takes the concept and makes it wholly its own. Mark Hamill voices Chucky more like a confused child that doesn’t understand quite how to make his best friend happy. It almost makes you feel bad for the doll since, at least for the first half of the movie or so, it seems to be genuinely trying to make Andy happy. While the original was a slasher film with the twist of the slasher being a doll; the remake instead acts more like a cautionary tale of technology becoming too integrated into our lives and letting it have too much control. Chucky is able to control TVs, toys, thermostats, lights, speakers, drones, and so much more which makes it so that what would be threatening by itself is now this unstoppable force.
I think one of the best things this movie does is the pacing of escalation in regards to Chucky’s murderous intent. For a good portion of the movie, like I mentioned, Chucky is just trying to be a friend for the lonely child, Andy. We go from him strangling a cat to start with and not actually even killing it, all the way to the end of the movie where shit gets crazy. Every step feels like a natural progression in the twisted AI that inhabits the doll and you get to slowly go from sympathizing with Chucky to being repulsed by him. If there’s one real failing it’s that not a lot of the comedy that gets put in lands. There were some cleverly amusing lines but a lot of the “it’s funny because a doll is saying X” stuff doesn’t really offer much in the humor category.
Score: 4.5 out of 5. I really enjoyed this one and Mark Hamill does such an amazing voice acting job. Only really losing out on a half point for the extreme heavy handedness of the “tech bad” message.