Airplane Movie Reviews: Child’s Play (2019)

I fly a decent amount for work now, and it’s one of the few times I can catch up on some of the newer horror flicks, as well as old classics that make their way to in-flight entertainment services. Welcome to another installment of Airplane Movie Reviews.

My excitement for a new Child’s Play film immediately dissipated when I found out that not only would this new Child’s Play be a reboot, but it would not involve series creator Don Mancini, or the legendary voice of Chucky, Brad Dourif. I had absolutely no intention of ever seeing this film.

But being trapped on on airplane for several hours does strange things to a person. So somewhere between Chicago and California, I found myself watching the new Child’s Play, and it was more fun than it had any right to be.

While there are plenty of elements of the original that are present in the new movie, the main change to the story involves the origin of Chucky. Instead of Teddy Ruxpin-like toy that is possessed by the soul of a serial killer, the new “Buddi” is a doll version of Siri or Alexa, with some bad programming. The Buddi dolls have prime directives right out of Robocop, and a disgruntled programmer basically turns them off for one doll. That doll ends up with Andy because his mom works at a department store where the doll was returned by its first owner for acting erractically. And off we go.

The story is mediocre, and it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, but having Chucky be an AI-powered killer does offer some interesting opportunities for the movie to take advantage of. Chucky can tap into the camera system at the apartment building, the navigation systems in cars, the security system at the department store, etc. It elevates Chucky to a threat that can come from anywhere at any time. And the way that he starts to taunt Andy and frame him for what’s going on is the best bit of storytelling in the movie.

The acting in this move is a bright spot for sure. Gabriel Bateman is great as Andy, and is the core of the movie. Both Aubrey Plaza as Andy’s mom Karen and Bryan Tyree Henry as Detective Norris are good, but are given very little to do, And Mark Hamill is probably the best guy you could get to play Chucky after Brad Dourif. But unlike the Dourif-led films, Hamill is given literally nothing to work with. His lines are completely flat, so his talent is wasted.

There are some pretty gruesome kills in Child’s Play, and they are much more inventive than the original film, which is the one place this movie beats out it’s predecessor. SUVs gone mad, table saw mishaps, and tilling machine beheadings are some of the ways that Chucky dispatches his victims. There’s also some genuine funny moments, but the movie doesn’t get too distracted trying to play for laughs. It’s a good balance.

There is one unforgivable flaw in this film, and it is the design of the new Chucky, which is absolutely atrocious. The original Child’s Play is over 30 years old now, and the doll/puppet design for all of the other Child’s Play films is light-years ahead of what we got in this reboot. Like I said, the original doll was a Teddy-Ruxpin like chracter that kids would actually want to have as a toy–that’s what made the movie so terrifying. This new doll is something I would put on my lawn for Halloween, but not allow my kid within fifty feet of. The design is so bad it breaks the core idea that it’s a toy in high demand from kids all over the world.

Anyway, warts aside, this movie was pretty fun, and doesn’t overstay its welcome with its 90-minute runtime.

Verdict: 2.5 airplane safety videos out of 5

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