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Child’s Play

The ‘Child’s Play’ horror film series isn’t what one would call high art. Beginning in 1988, the franchise has spawned 7 movies, this remake and an upcoming TV series. Not bad for a story focussing on a killer doll slashing its way to infamy. Having never seen any of the movies, it was a fresh experience watching the ‘Child’s Play’ redux. As silly as one would expect, its sense of fun amongst the murderous mayhem sets it apart from its more serious brethren.

When single mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza) gives her deaf son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) a robotic doll for his birthday, she thinks she’s done a good thing. Unfortunately it’s anything but with the doll, named Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill), quickly starting a savage rampage. The bodies pile up as Chucky the evil dolly carves its way atop the bloody heap.

Going against the glut of bland recent remakes, ‘Child’s Play’ has more energy and life to it. It’s not exactly a masterpiece but it is entertaining nonsense if viewed in the right frame of mind. That it manages to have genuine tension within the screenplay is a bonus. Chucky’s wicked methods go beyond looking creepy. His skills in commanding any electrical device is used effectively as you never know when or where he’ll strike. This makes for unpredictable viewing between the body count and quips.

Lars Klevberg’s direction and brisk pacing enable ‘Child’s Play’ to maintain momentum. There are few slow spots and several genuinely scary sequences stick in the mind. The performances are serviceable despite the thinly written characters with Hamill’s delivery of Chucky’s quotes fiendishly amusing. The excellent cinematography also goes a long way in creating the constant atmosphere of dread befitting such a devilish movie.

It would have been very easy for the ‘Child’s Play’ producers to make a lazy remake. Thankfully they bring a new slant to the long-running series. It’s uncertain if this will lead to further sequels but it doesn’t do a dis-service to an enduringly ridiculous and sinister franchise.

Rating out of 10: 6

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