Child's Play (15)



Horror (2019)
90mins US

Starring: Brian Tyree Henry, Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Mark Hamill, Tim Matheson
Director: Lars Klevberg
Writer(s): Tyler Burton Smith
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Widowed mother Karen Barclay relocates to a new city with her deaf 13-year-old son Andy. The move is especially hard on Andy. Soon afterwards, Karen purchases Buddi, a cute doll which connects all the Kaslan Corp appliances in the family's home. Andy christens the new arrival Chucky. A technical defect transforms the plaything into a knife-wielding harbinger of doom, who leaves death and destruction in his wake. Andy tries to warn his mother and other adults about the danger posed by Chucky.

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LondonNet Film Review
Child's Play (15)

Rebooting a cult 1980s slasher horror for tech-savvy modern audiences is anything but child's play, as Norwegian director Lars Klevberg learns to his cost - and our dismay. In the original version of Child's Play, a serial killer invokes a voodoo ritual to transfer his tormented soul into a benign plaything, which goes on a bloodthirsty rampage armed with sharp implements and droll one-liners. For the reboot, screenwriter Tyler Burton Smith eschews hocus pocus and relies on a technical malfunction to explain how a doll could be transformed into a relentless killing machine. Klevberg takes lurid delight in eviscerating supporting cast including one preposterous, gore-smeared set-piece involving a creepy, voyeuristic janitor (Trent Redekop), who is cut down to size (literally) in his basement workshop laden with deadly tools and appliances. Like its predecessor, violence is exceedingly nasty with splashes of black humour...

Child's Play. Copyright: Vertigo Releasing. Caption: Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill) and Gabriel Bateman as Andy in Child's Play, directed by Lars Klevberg. Photo: Eric Milner. All Rights Reserved.Widowed mother Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) relocates to a new city with her deaf 13-year-old son Andy (Gabriel Bateman). The move is especially hard on Andy, who misses his father and disapproves of his mother's bullying boyfriend, Shane (David Lewis). To make ends meet, Karen works on the customer service desk of a discount department store, where shoppers are eagerly awaiting the release of the new Buddi 2, which connects all Kaslan Corp appliances in the home.

A malfunctioning Buddi 1 unit (voiced by Mark Hamill) is returned by one disgruntled customer and Karen wraps the glitching device as an early birthday present for her boy. Once activated, the doll christens itself Chucky and strikes up a close friendship with Andy. "Are we having fun yet?" cheerfully trills the plaything during one session. Unfortunately, a disgruntled factory worker disabled the violence inhibitors on this particular Buddi 1 before it was shipped to America. When Andy makes a passing comment about how much he dislikes Shane, Chucky transforms into a knife-wielding harbinger of doom. Andy tries in vain to warn his mother that Chucky is responsible for the escalating carnage but evidence implicates the boy for the doll's heinous crimes, which are under investigation by Andy's neighbour, police detective Mike Norris (Brian Tyree Henry). "This is how every robot apocalypse begins!" deadpans one cast member.

Child's Play is oddly old-fashioned, relying on contrivance and characters' stupidity to provide a steady supply of victims for dismemberment courtesy of stomach-churning make-up and special effects. Hamill's vocal performance seldom causes goosebumps and some of his pun-laden parting shots could do with a systems upgrade. Bateman is compelling as the teenage outcast, who realises too late that when you have a friend like Chucky, you really don't need any enemies./p>

- Sam Cannon

Child's Play. Copyright: Vertigo Releasing. Caption: Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill) and Gabriel Bateman as Andy in Child's Play, directed by Lars Klevberg. Photo: Eric Milner. All Rights Reserved.


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