Director: Lars Klevberg
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Mark Hamill
Have I Seen it Before: At the time of this writing, t’s a new release, so I think you know the answer to that one. Here’s the thing. I’m reasonably sure that I’ve seen the original Child’s Play (1988) at one point or another, but I can’t lay a claim to any particular memory of the film. Maybe I will have to try to watch or re-watch the original
Did I Like It: I can’t think of much to say that won’t be damning with faint praise…
So let’s make with the damning, shall we?
There’s plenty of likable parts to this remake of Child’s Play*. At times, the film embraces its place in the universe and is content to be a gooey, unrelenting gore fest. Sadly, those moments don’t sustain and are few and far between.
The film reaches for moments of what might be considered satire of modern life, but it would likely be too much to expect the film to really dig in for these moments when it is designed from top to bottom to be counter-programming to traditional summer fare.
Mark Hamill is a delight. He manages to completely eschew the role that made him a household name, Luke Skywalker. Anyone familiar with his career as a voice actor won’t be surprised by that assertion, but he also manages—aside from just a few menacing laughs—to eschew his iconic work as The Joker. We’re lucky to have Hamill, and we’re lucky he keeps picking weird things to do, even if the rest of the movie isn’t quite living up to him. This is the only uniformly great part of the film.
The rest never quite comes together. Aubrey Plaza looks bored. I mean, her whole thing is looking bored, but even here she seems bored with her boredom. The kids surrounding the film never seem to be really reacting to anything that is going on. They seem like the kids who didn’t quite get the roles of The Losers Club in IT: Chapter One (2017), which incidentally came from the same producing team.
All in all, it’s probably as good as the original Child’s Play. At least, I think it is.
*For that matter, is this the first series that has been rebooted while the original series/continuity is still a going concern? I suppose at this point you could make an argument for Ghostbusters, but when the 2016 film had come out, the idea of a traditional/legacy sequel to the original series wasn’t on the table. This is a truly strange case, with two different Chuckies competing for our dread.