A Technophobe's Worst Nightmare: A Review Of 'Child's Play' (2019)
Child's Play by way of Skynet and ET. This version of Chucky would not even be remotely scary a couple of years back, but now that everything and everyone is on the cloud, well... you might just have to take a second look at the gadgets you've been buying for your kid.
Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman) is a 13-year-old deaf kid who's living with his mom, Karen (Aubrey Plaza). Having just moved to a new apartment, he's struggling to make new friends even more. The closest to a friend he has is his cellphone and, maybe, Detective Mike (Bryan Three Henry), the friendly cop living on the same floor as the Barclays.
One day, a customer at the Zed-mart that Karen works for returns a defective doll. It's a Buddi, an AI-powered toy by the Kaplan company that can interface with all Kaplan products. It can learn new skills and imprint itself to a child, making it his or her best friend for life. Basically, Alexa or Siri with limbs and opposable thumbs.
Feeling a bit guilty over Andy's situation, which is made even worse by her relationship with boyfriend Shane (David Lewis), she brings home the toy as an early birthday gift for Andy. At first, the Buddi doll looks like a dud. Andy doesn't like it. But then it boots up and though glitchy, it amuses Andy, and even gives itself the name, Chucky. They become instant best friends.
If you have any background on the Child's Play series, you know this won't end well for the Barclays. I won't spoil it here but if you're familiar with HAL 9000 then you probably have an idea of what's in store for Andy, his mom, and the new friends he makes along the way.
The Child’s Play Scare Experience at the SM Megamall Cinema Lobby runs from June 15 to 23. It features a Chucky Toy Collection Display. One can also witness the evolution of Chucky from the ‘80s to the present day with the Chucky Poster Exhibit. Get the chance to win limited edition Child’s Play shirts by taking photos at the exhibit backdrop and uploading them on Facebook or Twitter.
Virtually unknown director Lars Klevberg does a pretty decent job with Child's Play. He mentioned in interviews that this version of Chucky was like ET on acid. And it pretty much is. He also seems to be a big fan of the horror genre and it shows with the stylistic choices he made which mimic a wide range of influences. At times, though, there are tonal shifts between humor and gore and camp that feel jarring.
But while Klevberg has yet to find his voice, the Child's Play franchise has found the perfect voice for Chucky: Mark Hamill (yes, Luke Skywalker) who did great with going from innocent to menacing as the killer doll. The original Chucky still looks much scarier though.
Aside from the Child's Play Scare Experience exhibit, mallgoers can also see the Chucky mascot on these dates and branches: June 22 - SM North EDSA and SM Fairview, and June 23 - SM Megamall.
Actually, 90s kids won't probably find this Child's Play as scary as the original. But then, 90s kids still remember a time when there was no cloud and gadgets didn't have to be connected to everything. So there's a certain sense of disbelief that this isn't realistic. Not that a serial killer's spirit possessing a doll is more believable. For younger millennials and the Gen Z, though, this is closer than a life without the internet. So, this is, more or less, them looking at their possible future.
In the end, Child's Play 2019 found a great voice for the next version of Chucky. Bateman was also very charming like a young Bruce Campbell. It'll be interesting to see what happens sooner, a sequel or reality catching up to the movie and an army of AI-powered dolls controlling drones to end us all.
Catch Child’s Play starting June 20 at SM Cinema branches nationwide. Book your tickets through the website, www.smcinema.com or download the SM Cinema mobile app. You may also follow /SMCinema on Facebook and @SM_Cinema on Instagram for updates. Satisfy your cravings at Snack Time, the official food concessionaire of SM Cinema, which offers a wide array of snacks like popcorn, hotdogs and burgers to complement your movie watching experience. Follow /SnackTimeOfficial on Facebook for more information.
Photos courtesy of ComCo Southeast Asia Inc.