Walking the line between funny and scary is much more hit and miss than the film would have anyone believe
Comedy horror films are a very specific breed of feature, and 2019’s version of Child’s Play wants to become its forte. Using gore as a comedic vehicle is not an easy task, especially when it’s there to supply joy and fear in equal measure, and Child’s Play seems to think it’s got the tone spot on. In reality, it’s much less obvious than that, and walking the line between funny and scary is much more hit and miss than the film would have anyone believe.
Recently moving to a new city with his mum, Andy (Gabriel Bateman) needs help making friends in a new environment. Desperate to cheer her son up, Karen (Aubrey Plaza) takes a defective My Buddy doll home for Andy, giving him a new lease of life. However, when things start to go wrong, there is very little Andy can do to convince those around him that he isn’t going mad.
Child’s Play is certainly a well-cast and solid iteration of a stale franchise, and modernising this style of feature can often become a very difficult task. But take away that as a positive, and taking Child’s Play as purely a solo feature, it becomes much more of this blurred mash up of comedy and horror.
It’s a brand of cinema that is becoming increasingly rare, particularly with the rise of CGI, offering less flexibility on the comedic side of production, than purely physical effects have done in the past. But Child’s Play taps into that with a mixture of both, and for the most part executes its jokes and its body horror in equal measure. Allowing it some wiggle room, suspended belief gives it some positive entertainment value.
Mark Hamill is naturally a joy with his impeccable voice acting, supplying a chilling take as Buddi, and Aubrey Plaza’s unique delivery is always a fascinating watch, but too often do these elements become Child Play’s most interesting features. It’s ‘nearly there’ on too many of its elements, or simply focuses on too many elements to have any real impact, but it’s a frivolous feature, and that alone has some value in and of itself.
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