The Child's Play remake has finally arrived and is now playing in theaters, setting the stage for what all horror movie remakes should strive to accomplish. It's directly inspired by director Tom Holland and writer Don Mancini's original movie from 1988, starring Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky. That slasher classic tells the story of a young, single mother gifting her son with a trendy doll, unaware of its homicidal nature. What makes the new Child's Play work as well as it does is that it keeps the heart of this story the same, but tells a new version of it in a drastically different way. This makes it so the movie checks all the boxes on being a faithful homage while still offering a completely fresh take on the material to make seeing the remake an all-new experience.
Let's be clear. If the exact same course of events happened in the new movie as in the original, it would have paled in comparison. There's no denying that the original is a classic, and trying to carbon copy what happens in the movie would have resulted in failure. This is why so many other horror reboots are always met with harsh reception by fans. For Child's Play, we do have a very similar concept on paper, in that the remake also tells the story of Karen Barclay giving her son Andy a killer Chucky doll. However, by updating the story for the modern day and giving it a technological twist, we're left with a very different vibe overall. Whereas the original feels much darker, the remake feels more fun. This results in each movie providing its own unique viewing experience while maintaining the same spirit.
The cast of the original movie is on point, but the very same can be said for the new Child's Play. I love the portrayals of both the original Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) and the new Karen (Aubrey Plaza), even though I feel like the two wouldn't get along at all. The new Andy (Gabriel Bateman) and Detective Mike Norris (Brian Tyree Henry) are also both vastly different from the Alex Vincent and Chris Sarandon versions, and again, that only helps to accept them better as a viewer. Again, trying to mimic the previous performances successfully just wouldn't have been possible, so what we're given instead are all-new characters linked to their predecessors by name only.
Of course, the most glaring difference of all is the presentation of the new Chucky. Voodoo magic is no longer central to the story, as this Chucky comes to life via artificial intelligence. Thanks to a fantastic voiceover performance by Mark Hamill, it seems the new killer doll really just wants to be Andy's best friend, and you might even feel bad for the poor thing at times. This is a stark contrast to the Chucky of the original, who sought to use Andy's body as a vessel for his human resurrection. Old Chucky is downright sinister while new Chucky just wants a buddy, and the two dolls could not be any more different. This was the best possible course of action for the filmmakers to take, as they feel like completely separate characters able to be appreciated in their own ways.
Apparently, what a horror remake needs to be most effective is the perfect balance between homage and a fresh new take. Director Lars Klevberg and writer Tyler Burton Smith have defied the odds and definitely managed to accomplish that. From the characters to the kills and everything in between, everything just feels so fresh and new despite the direct inspiration from another movie. Simply put, Child's Play is the perfect horror movie remake and should now serve as a prime example of what others should do. It's highly entertaining and tons of fun, and I say that as a huge fan of the original. Child's Play is now playing in theaters everywhere, and I'm already looking forward to my second viewing - and a sequel.