Directed by Lars Klevberg [Other horror films: Polaroid (2019)]
This re-imaging of the classic 1988 film was, at times, pretty decent, but though I generally found it above average, I don’t think there’s really a whole lot to utterly love about this.
First off, as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t get use to the change in design of Chucky, most noticeably the face. I don’t think it was something that deeply took away from the film, but at the same time, I had a hard time getting the authentic Chucky feel when he was on-screen.
A big part of that too could be explained by the vastly different origin – instead of an insane serial killer trapped inside the body of a kid’s toy, this Chucky is basically a rogue program installed by a disgruntled employer (which isn’t much a spoiler, as that scene is how the film opens). Because of this change, Chucky was never ‘human’ here, instead feeling more like a robot attempting to understand how best to be the best friend he could be to Andy. Of course, this exploration doesn’t end well.
Though it wasn’t as distracting as I thought it’d be, I also wasn’t overly thrilled with the idea that Chucky was in control of not only himself, but of all the products this company linked into, such as hearing aids, televisions, drones, cars, etc. It really gets rid of the more personal feeling that I tend to expect from Chucky, though at the same time, it matches his drastically different origin well.
Many of the performances were perfectly acceptable. Aubrey Plaza certainly came across as a rather young mother, but it worked well. Brian Tyree Henry was pretty fun as a supporting cast member, though I sort of wish they did a bit more with him. I liked both Ty Consiglio and Beatrice Kitsos, and Kitsos was certainly the more memorable of the two, but I wish they had mattered more in the conclusion. As Andy, Gabriel Bateman was good. He was no Alex Vincent, but he was still good, and it’s always great to see Tim Matheson pop up, if only for a few minutes.
There was a solid kill here involving a heated pipe and a saw-blade, but the other kill with potential (lawnmower) was a bit on the dark side, and made it somewhat difficult to see everything. I did enjoy a somewhat jarring scene involving a head, so it certainly wasn’t all bad, but overall, I thought they could have done a lot more with the special effects and gore than what they did.
I’m somewhat hard-pressed to see how anyone could love this over the original film. There were certainly solid aspects about it, but it also lacked some of the scenes that made the original so great, such as the sequence in the asylum with Andy, or the scene in which his mother finds out that Chucky’s actually alive. Much of the film is serviceable, but it doesn’t really go beyond that for me.
I had a decent time watching this (it helps that by the time I saw this in theater, very few others were there to muddle the experience), and I do find it a bit above average, but I definitely don’t think the film’s great, and it sadly falls behind the original, along with at least three of it’s sequels (the second and third films, along with Curse).
On Fight Evil’s fifth podcast, Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I covered this shortly following it’s release. Give it a listen below.