Based on the classic lore of Robert The Doll, the original Child's Play (and it's sequels) involve a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) evading death by enter the body of a very popular child doll, called a Good Guy. Aside from wreaking havoc and going on killings sprees, Charles' (Chucky) the only real reason for hanging on is to finally break free of the plastic body and become human again, but there is a catch - the magic only works to the first person he tells who he really is. So round and round Chucky and his owner, Andy (Alex Vincent; Cult of Chucky) go in the first few films trying to save each other from dying. After this, the films went from horror to a bit more of a spoof, with Chucky getting a wife as well as a child.
However, this time around it is an entirely new story altogether that fits in with this day and age perfectly well. Kaslan (think Amazon) is a company that makes everything! From smart thermostats to autonomous cars, to even an AI talking doll that can control your home called Buddi. Buddi is a great addition to any house, that is unless a disgruntled employee happens to remove all inhibitors and safeguards on one model. When this happens Buddi is a blank slate learning from what happens around him and, in this case, creates a psychotic robot whose only goal is to never have anyone hurt his best friend, Andy (Gabriel Bateman; Light's Out )
While Brad Dourif did an amazing job bringing Chucky to life in the original films, he really can't compare to the amazingly creepy work done by Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Last Jedi). His voice carries the innocence the AI robot doll has as well as its evil menace when Buddi learns to do certain evil things. Other changes to the story include how Andy is a much older child, who has issues getting close to people, and when he does find friends his choices are not the type of child your mother would approve of. Aubrey Plaza (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) is a much better lead as Andy's mother than the original film and shows how single parents try to survive in today's world. To date, this might be her best performance audiences have ever seen.
Besides the high-quality story and excellent directing by Lars Klevberg (Polaroid), the film's score is by renowned artist Bear McCreary (Godzilla: King of Monsters) and is probably his best work to date. He effortlessly mixes in some of the old Child's Play (1988) music as well as some children's toys to create a very creepy soundtrack. He will also have you singing the "Buddi Song" in your head for weeks to come.
Being on Blu-ray I knew this wouldn't be the best quality showing for the film, but I still held out hope because recent films on Blu-ray are usually not plagued by the problem the fledging format had when it came out in the mid-2000. Unfortunately, this is not the case with this film. Presented in 1080p AVC and in its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 the video itself is plagued with artifacting problems. Most of the film has a slight flicker throughout it. However the color palette is bright and warm, and the details are sharp which helps take your mind away from the other issues. Fairing only slightly better is the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio which tends to have sounds bleed into speakers that shouldn't be such as dialog on the rear channels, Bear McCreary's soundtrack is a bit muted, and the spatial effects of surround are almost lost on this release.
Unfortunately, the special features of this initial release of Child's Play 2019 in the home entertainment market seem like an afterthought. Instead of an introspective look into the film, or deleted scenes or even gag reels, it literally has 7 minutes of fluff. Hopefully, if there is ever a 4K release of a second pressing they add to this horribly shortlist. The complete list is as follows:
- Audio Commentary by Director Lars Klevberg
- The Making of Child's Play - A two-minute look into 3 of the characters of the film (excluded Mark Hamill)
- Bringing Child's Play's Chucky to Life - A brief look at how the Chucky animatronics were created.
- Budi song sing-along — Sing the infamous Buddi song while watching clips from the film.
- Lee Hardcastle Claymations - Two 57 second shorts
This new Child's Play film is inventive and updates the story to make it relevant in today's society. It is one film that should definitely not be overlooked and hopefully, a 4K release (with a lot more special features) is in its future, as well as a sequel.
Film Itself: A+
Blu-ray Presentation: C-
Overall Grade: B