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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Child’s Play (2019)

May 28, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Chucky Child's Play

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #556: Child’s Play (2019)

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that isn’t above going there, but will not, under any circumstances, go over there because, goddamnit, I just don’t have the time to deal with that kind of nonsense, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and fifty-six, I take a look at the horror remake Child’s Play, which hit movie theatres in mid-June 2019.

Child’s Play (2019)


The Child’s Play remake, directed by Lars Klevberg, is one of those remakes that seems like a pretty good/pretty interesting idea on paper but, in reality, is a disaster. It didn’t have to be a disaster, but due to horrible casting and a horrendous tone, Child’s Play 2019 is a movie that, in retrospect, never should have happened.

Child’s Play stars Aubrey Plaza as Karen, a single mother with an incredibly whiny, shit head kid (Andy, as played by Gabriel Bateman). They’re new in town, Karen has a crappy job at a nearby department store, and Andy has no friends. Karen desperately wants Andy to have friends, but he just doesn’t seem to relate to the kids in the neighborhood. It doesn’t help that Andy has a hearing aid and will no doubt be a target of endless ridicule (kids, just like adults, are garbage, after all), but at the same time it seems Andy would much rather dick around on his phone. One day, Karen decides to bring home a Buddi doll that was returned for being defective and the store let her take. Andy really isn’t interested in having a doll, even if it’s basically a robot that will play with you and be your friend. Andy is a teenager and teenagers don’t like to play with toys. Andy fucks around with the Buddi doll anyway, somehow names it Chucky (he originally wanted to name it “Han Solo” but that didn’t compute), and suddenly they’re friends.

Now, what Karen and Andy don’t know, but the audience does know, is that Chucky is defective for a reason, as the doll was sabotaged at the factory in Vietnam (we see this at the very beginning of the movie). A disgruntled factory worker didn’t activate the right internal protocols/took a part out/whatever and essentially made the future Chucky doll evil. So, as Andy and Chucky “get to know one another,” Chucky starts to learn who is and isn’t “good” for Andy and acts accordingly. And by “acts accordingly” I mean Chucky starts making plans to kill anyone or anything that gets in his way of being “friends to the end” with Andy.

That, in a nutshell, is the basic story of Child’s Play. There are story details that I’ve skipped over but, truthfully, they’re not very important. This movie stinks.

The tone for this movie is overly snarky and tiresome. It never once tries to be scary and seems to think that the idea behind the movie, which is kind of scary, is enough to make people keep watching. The movie is somewhat watchable for about forty five minutes but once it hits the halfway mark and it tries to be a different movie it fails miserably. Had the movie remained ridiculous throughout perhaps the movie would have been successful. It doesn’t do that, though. At the halfway mark it wants you to take what you’re watching seriously. Too little, too late.

The characters are also mostly terrible. Karen the mother is a weirdly detached parent who seems to be really involved in her child’s life one second and then not so much the next second. You never get the sense that she cares about Andy in any meaningful way. I actually thought Karen was Andy’s older sister who ended up with custody of Andy after their parents died and was just an asshole by nature because she didn’t want to take care of her kid brother. And since you don’t get the sense that Karen really cares for Andy, you never get the sense that Andy likes his mother at all anyway. Part of that is the way Karen acts when she’s around Shane, who is just a piece of shit. Karen really likes Shane, but Andy doesn’t like Shane (and Shane doesn’t care much for Andy) and it seems like Karen is picking Shane over Andy. That’s wrong, or at least it seems wrong.

And then there’s Andy. He’s just fucking annoying. Despite all of the shit he’s apparently gone through in life, you don’t feel sympathy for him at all. And when he does eventually find friends in the neighborhood, kids his own age, you hate those kids, too. In fact, there isn’t a likeable kid in this entire movie. Andy is bullied at one point in the story by one kid and it’s just shit that’s happening in the movie. There’s no emotion one way or the other. None of it matters. And don’t get me started on the brother and sister that sort of become Andy’s best friends. I don’t remember their names and I’m way too lazy to go find out who they are. I hate both of them with a fucking passion.

The only good characters in the movie? Mike, a cop character played by Brian Tyree Henry. Mike’s Mom lives in the same building as Andy and Mike shows up every week to have dinner with his Mom, something he doesn’t necessarily enjoy but he does it anyway because that’s just what you do. Mike tries to strike up a friendship with Andy, but Andy isn’t interested. And it’s hard to dislike Doreen (Carlease Burke), Mike’s Mom. She’s just an old woman trying to live her life and, well, it’s hard to hate her.

The most sympathetic character in the movie? Chucky the killer robot doll. Brilliantly voiced by Luke Skywalker hisself Mark Hamill, Chucky shouldn’t be sympathetic at all because he’s supposed to be the movie’s monster, but Chucky isn’t a monster at all. Chucky is just doing what he was programmed to do, and since he’s malfunctioning because he was tampered with, it’s hard to root against him. I mean, what else is Chucky supposed to do? How else is he supposed to act? He’s just doing what he was programmed to do. The scene where Chucky is attacked by Andy and his two friends and they remove his power source is easily one of the most heart breaking things I’ve seen in a movie in recent memory. That shouldn’t be happening. This should be a triumphant moment for the kids because they’re removing a dangerous object from their lives. I should be happy that the kids are winning. I’m not, though. I’m pissed.

And then there’s the ending. It’s just fucking stupid. As a set piece idea, it’s not bad. A bunch of robot toys massacre an entire store full of customers? That should freak out the audience. It doesn’t. The scene just seems to exist because it’s a cool idea and nothing more. And what’s even more annoying is that, while you’re rooting for Chucky to win, you don’t actually root for him at the end. He’s just in the scene because, well, the movie has to end at some point and Chucky has to be there. The whole thing is just a goddamn disaster.

I will say there are some good gore moments, like the bit where Chucky goes after Shane. And while that ending is, again, stupid as hell, I did like the whole “drone with razor blades on its propellers” thing.

So what the hell went wrong here? Who the fuck thought that this movie was a good idea? I don’t understand how this movie happened at all. I mean, I get why Orion Pictures and MGM wanted to make a movie called Child’s Play. The title still means something and the Chucky killer doll is a modern horror icon. People, horror movie fans especially, will show up for that. But the movie that was made is a complete failure. It just sucks and it’s disappointing as hell. It should be much better. It could have been much better.

Child’s Play 2019 is just garbage. Only see it if you have to. Otherwise, avoid it like the fucking plague. Mark Hamill deserved a better movie. The world did.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 11. 12 if you count Chucky.

Explosions: Several.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A commercial, face slapping, deliberate sabotage, potential suicide, department store hooey, horseplay, a goofy cell phone video, hearing aid hooey, a Chucky the killer doll learning stuff montage, attempted rock throwing at glass beer bottles, cat attack, making a talking doll say swear words, horror movie watching, of screen cat killing, dead body hiding, urination, a guy falls off a ladder, serious leg breaking, lawnmower hooey, scalping, stabbing, human face on a watermelon, barfing, wrapping paper hooey, a gang attack, resurrection, hidden camera hooey, bullying, phone hooey, autonomous car hooey, TV smashing, baseball bat hooey, neck stabbing, blood geyser from a guy’s neck, razorblades on a drone’s propellers, a full on bloodbath, bondage, attempted hanging, singing, knife to the chest, bullet to the body, decapitation, dismemberment, and the threat of a sequel.

Kim Richards?: There should have been.

Gratuitous: Tim Matheson, a toy factory in Vietnam, customer service, talk of Feng shui, a douchebag boyfriend named Shane, a robot toy with the voice of Mark Hamill, a cat named Rooney, toilet paper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Chucky with a knife, Chucky learning how to menace people by watching horror movies on TV, Chucky saying “Shane is such an asshole!,” fucking Christmas lights, a handyman that really kind of looks like Jack Black, smart ass kids that you can’t fucking stand, a Robocop reference, and the threat of a sequel.

Best lines: “Don’t forget your science book,” “Nobody told me the fucking doll was ginger,” “Thank you for shopping at Zedmart, It’s like the time you banged Susan in the warehouse. How’s your wife, by the way?,” “Oh. That was a joke?,” “All Moms are scary, by the way,” “Your Buddi is now connected,” “Did you say Chucky?,” “Total dick,” “Do you want to sing the Buddi song before bed?,” “Just please close your eyes and pretend to be less creepy,” “I made you a present! A busted stick?,” “Kitty hurt Andy?,” “Hey! The cat’s freaking out!,” “It’s fucking loud!,” “Say dick cheese. Dick cheese,” “Narc alert! Shut up! Shut up!,” “Goddamn raccoons!,” “This is for Tupac,” “Body was stabbed thirteen times. I just bought these fucking shoes,” “White dude dead in a watermelon patch. Poetic,” “You left me all alone. I don’t like the closet,” “Time to open you up. See what we’re dealing with,” “Hey, mister, want to go get a burger? Yum! Yum!,” “Andy’s my best friend,” “Why do you have Omar’s phone,” “If they don’t let us play they all go away,” “I’m gonna follow her. Me, too,” “You are ruining our fun, Andy!,” and “This is the end.”

Rating: 4.0/10.0


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Things to Watch Out For


Escape from L.A. Collector’s Edition: This Blu-ray comes to us from the fine folks at Shout! Factory and its Scream Factory imprint. It’s a damn shame that we’re not getting a John Carpenter/Kurt Russell commentary track, but the various interviews we’re getting with the disc are likely good stuff (Cuervo Jones hisself, George Corraface, is an interview subject, as are frequent Carpenter bit player Peter Jason, Stacy Keach, and Bruce fucking Campbell). And I have no doubt that the movie will look amazing. Hopefully, one day we do get that Carpenter/Russell commentary track with a brand new re-issue or some such, but this particular Collector’s Edition is worth getting for the interviews and the transfer. Oh, and check out my piece on how Escape from L.A. is awesome.


Ator: The Fighting Eagle: This is, of course, the classic early 1980’s fantasy flick starring Miles O’Keefe. It was a video store staple back in the day, and I assume it played on cable often, too (that’s where I likely saw it). It looks ridiculous, yes, but it’s still awesome in its own way. A company called Dark Force Entertainment is releasing this, so I have no idea what the transfer is going to look like or what kind of special features, if any, we’re going to get. At least the movie will be available once again. I think it’s time I check this out again. Any Ator fans out there?


Breeders: This is another Blu-ray release from Dark Force Entertainment. I remember seeing this title in video stores back when video stores were a real deal thing. I never rented it, but I do remember that creature (I don’t remember the movie being called Deadly Instincts, though). Anyway, the movie is apparently one of those low budget sci-fi horror deals where a college campus is attacked by a nasty alien from space after a meteor crashes. It sure as hell sounds ridiculous, but the trailer gives me hope that it isn’t (well, I want it to be ridiculous in a good way). Anyone out there see this? Is it worth checking out and owning, or is it one of those deals where it would be best if you rented it first? Anyone out there see this as Deadly Instincts?


The Invisible Man: This is the big hooha remake from writer/director Leigh Whannell that came out earlier this year to major critical acclaim (and audiences seemed to dig it). I didn’t get a chance to see it in theatres or during its “premium Video on Demand” run, so I have no idea if it’s as good as the big deal critics claim. I’m curious about it, but I’m also leery of its two hour run time. Does the story really require two hours? I’ll see it at some point. I hope it’s good.


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

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Child’s Play (2019)

Aubrey Plaza– Karen
Gabriel Bateman– Andy
Brian Tyree Henry– Mike
David Lewis– Shane
Carlease Burke– Doreen
Marlon Kazadi– Omar
Beatrice Kitsos– Falyn
Ty Consiglio– Pugg
Tim Matheson– Henry Kaslan
Mark Hamill– Chucky (voice)

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Lars Klevberg
Screenplay by Tyler Burton Smith, based on the original Child’s Play screenplay by Don Macini, John Lafia, and Tom Holland, based on a story by Don Macini.

Distributed by United Artists Releasing and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Rated R for bloody horror violence and language throughout
Runtime– 90 minutes

Buy it here.