“Something is wrong with Chucky,” says 13-year-old Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman) in the new horror movie “Child’s Play.” Anyone who grew up in the ten-year Classic Chucky era—1988 to 1998, from “Child’s Play” to “Bride of Chucky”—knows exactly what is wrong with the cute red-haired Chucky “Good Guys” doll; that he is actually a murderous piece of plastic containing the soul of a serial killer. Seven movies, a television series, comic books and video games later comes a new Chucky menace, starring Aubrey Plaza and Mark Hamill as the voice of the killer doll.
Plaza is Karen Barclay, a widower and mother of Andy. Looking to make a new start in a new town they relocate. “I know this move has been really touch,” she says to him, “but you said you were going to try and make new friends.” To help smooth the transition Karen buys Andy a new toy, a robotic Buddi doll that can connect to and control everything. “Remember, it’s refurbished,” she says, “so it may not work perfectly.”
The two become BFFs but playtime comes to an end when strange, deadly things start happening. As the bodies pile up Detective Mike Norris (Brian Tyree Henry) believes the boy and not the toy may be behind all the trouble.
“Toy Story” this ain’t.
“Child’s Play” takes liberties with the ideas from the original Chucky movies but retains the silly slasher fun that made this franchise so much fun in the first place. By cleverly updating the Chucky’s possessed scenario to involve technology gone amok, it’s a clever, blood-splattered commentary on our reliance on social media to fill a gap left by personal relationships. Add to that some 80s gore-inspired effects and a “Goonies” style cast of supporting characters and you’re left with a film that rides the line between retro and completely up to date.