REVIEW: Does the new Child's Play deliver the horrific goods this time around?

This time around Chucky is not a doll come to life but rather a robot which begs the question: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Movie: Child's Play
Release date: Out now
Reviewed by: Chris Hewitt
After moving to a new city, single mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza) tries to help her lonely son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) by giving him the gift of the hot new toy, a Buddi doll. Unbeknownst to her, though, it's been reprogrammed by a psychotic disgruntled worker, and it's not long before the doll – now named Chucky – is going on the rampage…
And so Hollywood's obsession with refurbishing the newest, hippest plaything from the oldest and tattiest of parts leads back to 1988's Child's Play.
Tom Holland's (the American director, not the English actor) original was a fun killer doll flick that made a star of its homicidal rubber rascal, Chucky, led to a fragmented franchise of varying quality, and by and large played it straight.
Image: Orion Pictures
This remake, from director Lars Klevberg and writer Tyler Burton Smith, leans into the absurdity of its premise and, for the first half, treads a nicely wonky line between comedy and horror, aided by some fun, off-kilter dialogue delivery by Aubrey Plaza, dealer of deadpan, as the mother of the film's young hero, Andy.
Then Chucky — voiced by Mark Hamill — begins to go off the deep end, and while some of the kills are going to please gorehounds (even if they're largely close-ups of people screaming and chunks of bloody meat), the film's paucity of ideas and budget soon begin to show.
Image: Orion Pictures
It doesn't help that the characters are all unlikeable, with Andy something of an entitled douchebag here.
As for the star of the show, Chucky, Hamill is fun, but saddled with lame, unadventurous dialogue.
The doll itself looks cheap and unconvincing — while that may be part of the gag, it doesn't help matters when the doll suddenly has to invoke fear.
But the chief issue is in the reimagining of Chucky himself as a robot doll.
Watch the trailer for the original Child's Play released in 1988. Story continues after video.
Removing the supernatural possession element that powered the original is all well and good, and there are nice ideas about Chucky being able to link up with the cloud and other devices, but they're never fully explored.
More fatally, what we have here is a film populated by people so dense that they don't take the batteries out of the doll the second it malfunctions.
And when that happens, the film soon malfunctions with it.
Making a killer-doll movie out of decent component parts should have been child's play, but this misses the mark.

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