Plot: Karen (Aubrey Plaza) hoped a move would give her and her son Andy a fresh start, but he has struggled even with the new surroundings. Andy has trouble making friends and in an effort to help him feel less lonely, Karen gets him a Buddi doll, a state of the art robotic toy. This doll is driven by high end machine learning and can run all kinds of smart devices, as well as provide some social interaction, which is what Karen hopes will benefit Andy. Soon after Andy gets the doll online, it seems to have some quirks, but for the most part, the doll, now named Chucky, becomes Andy’s instant best friend. But unknown to anyone, a pissed off factory worker where the doll was built included a special surprise. This doll happens to be much more powerful and much less controlled than the millions of other Buddi dolls on the market. As Chucky starts to show signs of awareness and even violence, tensions rise, but can anyone survive the onslaught of this killer doll?
Entertainment Value: This remake of Child’s Play provides a nice update to the narrative, but I feel like a smart doll gone wrong could have been a fresh villain, rather than a new coat of paint. The killer doll genre is packed with similar takes, so it wouldn’t have been out of place to kick off a new franchise with this concept, but the Child’s Play tie in dulls that shine a little. Even so, I appreciated how well the concept has been fine tuned and updated, as this kind of smart doll is a believable piece of tech, so the revisit isn’t a wasted rehash at all. The narrative is predictable, but the smart doll angle adds in some welcome new twists at least, while the pace moves briskly and Child’s Play never feels slow or dull. The tone is mostly darkly humorous, with some bursts of tension, but this is more fun than scary, including some quite effective intentional laughs that land, such as Chucky practicing his facial expressions. The cast is good, with Aubrey Plaza as a harried, hipster mom and Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky, in a capable performance, though I missed Brad Dourif. In the end, I still think this core premise could have been used to more effective ends without the Child’s Play license attached, I had fun with this one and give it a solid recommendation.
No nakedness. There are some minor sexual references, but no sleaze and no naked flesh whatsoever here. The movie does have some bloodshed of course, including some over the top, even humorous deaths. I mean, who doesn’t love a skinned human face placed onto a watermelon, right? I also think the double leg break is brutal, though only shown for a few seconds, while a chunky head mutilation is the highlight of the gore. That scene not only has a gruesome, blade fueled trauma to a man’s head, but we also get a moment of humor involving a garden gnome. A number of stabs and slashes unfold as well, including one repeated and splashy shank session that stands out. We also have leg trauma, a long fall with a sudden stop, sharp drones on the loose, and some other less blood soaked incidents here and there. The dialogue is fun and of course, Chucky has all of the most humorous and outlandish banter. The one liners aren’t at a steady clip, but the final act has a good amount and the ones we do have, are quite good for the most part, with some quotable moments. I also like some of the more absurd exchanges as Chucky learns from his environment, such as telling someone “This is for Tupac” before he unleashes his knife. As for craziness, the silliness earns a point and the scene where Chucky tries to learn how to smile is hilarious. Other than those minor points, not much else to discuss in this department.
Overall Insanity: 2/10
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