Chucky’s origin differs from the original plot of murderer’s soul possessing a Good Guys doll to reflect real modern fears around AI. Karen (Aubrey Plaza) gifts a damaged Buddi doll to her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) for his birthday, and it just so happens to be the one whose AI had been tampered with, thereby taking away his behavioural restrictions and safeguards. After imprinting on Andy, Chucky gradually shows more and more red flags in his behaviour as he attempts to do what he believes will make Andy happy. What I love about this change is that Chucky isn’t just a blatantly evil person looking to hurt people, but instead has more behind his motives and actually makes you feel empathy for him. Mark Hamill was the perfect casting to voice him (Mark Hamill is always perfect casting, that’s just a general rule) and he manages to tread the line between being sweet and endearing, as well as funny but also creepy and terrifying in the right places. He actually managed to make me sad at points which was completely unexpected, but it’s all put down to the naivety and the strange sense of innocence that he brings to the character despite everything he does. The violence in the film should also live up to fans’ expectations. There are some gasp-worthy moments (the poor woman next to me in the cinema was squirming at one point) and I liked that the gore isn’t constant, but does make it count when it happens so it doesn’t become desensitising.
Aubrey Plaza is likeable as a young single mother, and it’s interesting to see her in a role different to any other she’s played before. Gabriel Bateman also deserves a lot of praise as he does a great job with portraying the conflict Andy feels as Chucky becomes more dangerous. He previously starred in ‘Lights Out’ (2016) and he was good even then especially for such a young actor, but has shown that he’s improved a lot in this film. He already has a decent amount of horror in his filmography, so hopefully he’ll continue to do more as he’s already doing great work.
I can honestly say that ‘Child’s Play’ has made it into my very short list of good remakes that actually had something to add rather than just trying to copy the original. Of course, it paid tribute, but didn’t do it in an overwhelming way that relied on nostalgia for it to be enjoyed. The casting is good, and the balance of horror with comedy is just right. I look forward to seeing the inevitable sequel in the hopes that it’ll be just as good as this one. Maybe two hits in a row is asking for a little too much…but I want to be proven wrong about that.