A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Child's Play (2019) is a reboot of the 1988 slasher film about a killer doll named Chucky (now voiced by Mark Hamill). This version is less about serial killers and dark magic and more about the nature of friendship, but it has even more graphic, gory violence than the original, including a bloody skull, severed head/other body parts, stabbing, characters getting chewed up by lawnmowers and table saws, a woman being tied up and hanged by a rope, fighting, and general screaming and mayhem. Language includes several uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and more. A boy catches his mom kissing her boyfriend and spots the boyfriend buckling his belt (implying he and the mom just had sex). One character is cheating on his wife, another spies on a woman in a bathroom (she undoes her bra with her back to the camera), and there's a brief, sex-themed Chucky internet meme. Smoking and beer drinking are shown. Thanks to some humor and pathos, the movie works pretty well, but it's definitely not for younger viewers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In CHILD'S PLAY, a Vietnamese factory worker is fired, but not before he can finish building a "Buddi" doll -- and remove all of its safety protocols. Meanwhile, in the United States, lonely Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman), who has a hearing impairment, and his single mom, Karen (Aubrey Plaza), have recently moved to a new town. When a defective Buddi doll is returned to the store where Karen works, she decides to give it to Andy. Named "Chucky" (voiced by Mark Hamill), the doll immediately starts acting oddly, promising lifelong friendship with Andy and showing animosity toward Andy's nasty cat and toward Karen's not-so-nice boyfriend. But at least Chucky helps Andy make some new friends: Pugg (Ty Consiglio) and Falyn (Beatrice Kitsos). But then the killings start, and a neighboring police detective, Mike Norris (Brian Tyree Henry), begins investigating.
Is it any good?
This reboot of the infamous "killer doll" slasher series bases its story in a good, much simpler idea that increases the emotional stakes. It then incorporates human characters with fresh doses of humor and pathos. The original Child's Play (1988) and all of its six sequels hinged on the idea of a mad killer's soul being magically transferred to a regular Chucky doll and making it try to kill everyone, while the new film is more focused on the doll longing to be friends with Andy. It's a small distinction, but Andy's regret as he tries to destroy his toy is quite affecting. (Weirdly, it echoes some of the themes in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence.)
Meanwhile, Plaza and Henry, as well as the young actors, manage to bring subtle humor to their roles, as well as real-world weight. There are actually consequences here. Hamill, who's best known as Luke Skywalker -- but is also excellent as the voice of the Joker in many Batman animated cartoons and video games -- brings a sweet, sinister tone to Chucky; perhaps he's a bit confused and angry, rather than just homicidal. The movie's pace is light and quick, and the effects seem to be largely practical; the killings are bloody but clever. A drawback is the nasty Shane character, who's shown to be nothing but a jerk and "deserves" his gruesome murder. The department store showdown also gets a little over-the-top. But otherwise, this Child's Play is actually a fun romp.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Child's Play's violence. How much blood and gore is shown? How did you react? Shock? Laughter? How did the movie achieve this effect?
How scary is the movie? What's the appeal of horror movies?
Why is Chucky so compelling as a character? How does this reboot compare to the previous Chucky movies?
Have you ever had difficulty with your friends? How did you resolve the situation?
What is the relationship between Andy and his mother like? Is she a good mom? How does it compare to your real-life relationships?
- In theaters: June 21, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: September 24, 2019
- Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Brian Tyree Henry
- Director: Lars Klevberg
- Studio: United Artists
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody horror violence, and language throughout
- Last updated: November 2, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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