Child’s Play (2019)

Despite its best intentions, this remake of the 1988 horror classic is a mess. The original’s structure is intact but the filmmakers update the technology to include artificial intelligence, but by the time the movie is done, all that’s left are a half-dozen or so underdeveloped ideas. It often feels like there are a number of scenes left on the cutting room floor, with the movie speeding through its plot on the way to a rushed climax that feels undercooked, while the stalking-doll scenes are more dull than scary. Mark Hamill does the best he can as the voice of Chucky but he’s constrained by the screenplay’s weaknesses, and the end result is a Chucky that has little personality and never registers any menace. The humans don’t fare much better either, with Gabriel Bateman struggling with an underdeveloped Andy, while Aubrey Plaza seems to be playing her character from “Parks and Recreation” transplanted from a sitcom to a horror movie. Overall it’s sloppy, poorly paced, and incompetently edited, leading to a number of jarring tonal shifts that suggest there were too many cooks in the kitchen at once in its filmmaking-by-committee approach.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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