A general rule of thumb is to never mess with the original. Unfortunately, that rule is not followed in Hollywood and the powers that be once again decided that, rather than do something new or original, they would remake another “classic” in an attempt to somehow improve it.
They failed yet again!
This time around it is the story of the world’s most famous killer doll: Chucky.
In the original 1988 horror flick that shares the same name, Chucky became the evil doll that he is thanks to the death of serial killer and all around psychopath Charles Lee Ray. Seconds before his death, Charles used the power of voodoo to transfer his soul to the nearest body so that he could continue to live and carry out his murder spree. Unfortunately for him, he messed up and his soul was transferred into the body of the most popular children’s toy on the market: a Good Guy doll (essentially a Cabbage Patch Kid). Charles then becomes Chucky, the prized possession of Andy Barclay. Chucky, angry he is trapped in the body of a doll, resumes his killing spree with the hopes of once again transferring his soul into a real human: young Andy!
That movie made sense, in that Chucky had a good reason for being evil. He was evil even before he was Chucky! Plus, while far-fetched as all get out, the voodoo aspect at least helped it make sense.
This new version makes no sense, and it bothered me from start to finish!
In this 2019 remake, Chuckys’ origins begin right off of the assembly line. Kaplan (a ripoff of Amazon) is the leader in technological innovations and their newest invention is a robotic best friend, named Buddi. Buddi is reminiscent of a Terminator in that they are equipped with a learning processor and, once they are activated and set-up, they can essentially learn and do anything. Chucky is created by a suicidal assembly line employee in the Kaplan Korean factory, who singles out the Chucky doll and disables all of his safety protocols. Chucky enters the life of young Andy Barclay when his mother (Aubrey Plaza) brings him home from her job at a K-Mart-esque store. From the start, Chucky acts differently than a regular Buddi doll would. He tends to glitch out and act wonky, which causes Andy and his mother to initially think he is defective. Andy continues playing with him only to discover that Chucky is fine, and the two bond as most kids do with their toys. However, Chucky – with his safety protocols turned off – quickly becomes obsessed with Andy and their “friendship.” Chucky then turns murderous in his attempts to “protect” Andy and preserve their friendship.
Now for my opinion: there is no reason for Chucky to become murderous in this new version! Just because he has his safety protocols turned off, that does not mean the doll would become evil and a killer. If anything, it would just learn more than it should compared to a regular doll. Its A.I. would continue to take in and process knowledge and information unbridled thanks to the safety protocols not existing. Here, Chucky simply becomes a murderer because Andy and his friends watch one of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movies and Chucky, being the uber-smart robot that he is, interprets the violence in the movie as something that is ok to do. He is not some psychopathic murderer trapped in the body of a doll; he’s just an out-of-control robot that could be re-programmed as easily as he was programmed to begin with! Hook him up to a computer and override what controls exist and viola, problem solved!
On top of being dumb story-wise, the movie is also bad in that it is very gory and graphic. I interpreted that to be a cover-up for its lack of plot. The lack of a motive for the doll to be a killer is made up for in the aspect of “look how gross it is when Chucky acts out!”
The original “Child’s Play” worked well because of its subtlety. Not only was Chucky just a doll that had come to life, he worked realistically. He used what he could and what he had access to: guns, hammers, and knives. Here, Chucky commits his murders by using self-driving cars, farm equipment, drones, and power tools! I get that he is supposed to be a super smart robot, but come on. That is too much for a doll to be able to do!
Remakes have become the norm, and they always tend to do well enough to keep getting made. Recent remakes have been praised by critics and audiences alike, such as the live action Disney “Lion King” and “Aladdin” remakes. This is not like those! In fact, this is one of the worst remakes I have seen and by the time the credits rolled I was mad at myself for giving it a try.
So, should you Watch it or Skip it?
Skip it! Rent the original instead! You’ll be glad you spent your time watching that classic instead of this horrible attempt at “improving” it for modern audiences.
“Child’s Play” is rated “R” for strong horror violence/gore and language, and has a run time of 90 minutes.