Child's Play (Lars Klevberg, 2019, Canada/USA)

Norwegian director Lars Klevberg's 2019 reboot of the Child's Play franchise is a surprisingly fresh take on the 30-year-old franchise. The film was a modest success at the box office but seemed to come and go without much notice. It's a shame because the film is an interesting effort. The external trappings of the film are similar to the original Child's Play, although here our main character Andy is somewhat older than the Andy Barclay of the original film. Like Andy, he is living with a single mother (here played by Aubrey Plaza). There is also a detective here, as with Chris Sarandon's character in the original.

Where this 2019 Child's Play diverges from the original is the origin story. Instead of the voodoo / supernatural aspect of the original series, the Chucky in this film is a case of AI that has gone haywire. The programmer responsible for manufacturing this Alexa-style toy removes the controls against violence in the toy as a malicious move against his boss, and the toy ends up in the hands of Andy's mother. This presents an interesting moral scenario compared to the original film. Whereas in the original film Chucky was simply evil, here he is given sympathetic treatment - especially at the beginning. He becomes violent due to his programming and his desire to please Andy.

The film is not altogether that original, but it is entertaining and compact at 90 minutes. The film seems to have more in common with stories about AI has gone haywire like Robocop, a film that is referenced in the film multiple times. Overall, this reboot does what most reboots set out to do - it captures the essence of the original franchise while adding a very new spin on things. Mark Hamill's Chucky is very different from the Brad Dourif's Chucky.



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