Friday, October 18, 2019

Chucky Makes A Return to DVD

After seven horror movies (three well-made horror movies followed by four dreadful black humor comedies), the Child's Play franchise had no other option than to route for a remake. Updated to fit the 21st century, the voodoo aspect of body switching from the original classic was upgraded to artificial intelligence which could jump around courtesy of wi-fi access. Here, Chucky is the brainchild of a disgruntled factory worker who removes safety protocols (as if a toy company would have created such features in the software in the first place). When young Andy happens to own the very doll that attempts to replicate artificial intelligence, murder ensues. 

As a child I enjoyed watching the movies when they first came out in theaters. (After the third film, however, I jumped the shark because it was not the same. The producers knew this as the original titles (Child's Play 2 and Child's Play 3) were now Seed of Chucky, Cult of Chucky, etc. For this new rendition it was my hope the franchise reverted back to the original concept. True, there are a number of great horror scenes including a graphic slice on a table saw. Also promising was the budget maintained low enough to ensure the reboot exceeded profit expectations, especially when you consider the almost-unknown cast hired to perform their duties sufficiently in front of the camera. Mark Hamill supplies voice to Chucky, the Buddi doll that goes berserk. But the flaw with this movie, to my disappointment, is the doll itself.

The original worked well because the animatronics gave life to an inanimate object. Courtesy of voodoo, the doll displayed a persona similar to a real psychopathic human being including the menacing laugh. You could never anticipate what Chucky was going to do next but you believed he was a living, breathing killer. Here, the threat is physically real (sharp blades) but mentally no more of a menacing than your Alexa in the living room. The menace was no more than a computer program designed to follow computer code.

To give credit, the producers did everything to the book and expectations (based upon review of the movie trailer) were fairly routine. If the budget was kept low enough in production, this movie has a chance to score points with the studio and green light a sequel -- but hopefully with a 2.0 upgrade. In the meantime, the new Child's Play is now available and Halloween is around the corner. Redbox, Amazon or Netflix this one and give it a shot if you enjoy horror films. But if you never saw the original, I recommend watching that one first.