Child’s Play  – Blu-ray Review
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Film Title: Child’s Play 
Release Date: 2019
Runtime: 90 minutes
Region Coding: Region A
Audio Format: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Version Reviewed: Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Release Date: 09/24/19
Director: Lars Klevberg
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Gabriel Bateman, Tim Matheson, Brian Tyree Henry, Trent Redekop, David Lewis, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, Carlease Burke, Marlon Kazadi
Jump to Sections: Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full Blu-ray Tech Specs can be found at the very bottom.
“Child’s Play” is a 2019 remake (or re-imagining of sorts) of the classic 1988 horror film of the very same title. This 2019 version of the film was directed by a Norwegian filmmaker Lars Klevberg. Klevberg first became known for making a short film called “The Wall” (2012) that received some very positive reviews. He’s also known for recently doing another horror genre film “Polaroid” (2019). The screenplay, based on the original characters created by Don Mancini, was written by Tyler Burton Smith. Smith started out in shorts. He went on to writing for a few video games like “Quantum Break” (2016) and most recently has co-written the screenplay for the upcoming film “Kung Fury 2” (currently in post-production).
The story here is almost entirely different but it holds some of the basic foundations from the original film, in fairness. These same characters are present in the form of a single mother (again) named “Karen Barclay” (Aubrey Plaza) and she has a son (again) named “Andy Barclay” (Gabriel Bateman). The major difference here is that the mother is much younger than the actress and/or character in the original film and the son is actually 13 years old this time around. Does that not seem weird to anyone? It honestly was hard for me to take seriously, just based on that alone, but we shall continue.
So, something once again goes wrong here with a toy doll at the beginning of the story, and then somehow a son of a single mother is given a toy doll for his birthday. Let’s rewind a moment, shall we? It’s the age, as even the film dialogue makes a joke about the age of the mother just barely adding up. She [Karen] would have had her son when she was 16 she says? That just seemed like one hell of a weird change to make. And then, as if that’s not strange enough, let’s focus on the fact that a teenage boy would accept a toy doll – even if it’s a tech gadget that the kids love. That just seems far-fetched as all absolute hell and I couldn’t get past most any of it.
They also decided to carry over another character “Detective Mike Norris” (Brian Tyree Henry). This time there’s a slight difference though, as Norris is someone who conveniently often visits nearby Andy’s apartment. Now, the next most important thing that was carried over here is that there is a (defective) toy named “Chucky” – in this film voiced by Mark Hamill. Don’t get me wrong, Mark Hamill is a great actor and I love a lot of his other voice acting work but this isn’t one of the best things he’s ever been involved in. Let’s just put it that way. He does, however, manage to deliver a definitely sinister performance as the blue-turned-red-eyed defective toy seeking blood, that much is for sure. Yes, the toy goes haywire and starts to do things it is not supposed to because its childsafe filters have all been turned off. No voodoo around this time, kiddos.
If I sound like I’m down on this film it’s just that it has no legs to stand on other than playing into the overly paranoid notion that modern technology could be somehow connected to this toy doll, like a voice assistant in smart homes of today? That’s silly as all hell but I will admit that I did enjoy some parts of it, just not enough parts. This remake really was a tad bit like the doll: slightly defective, it might kill you (to watch) but overall it really meant well, or did it?
Movie Rating: 2.75 (out of 5)
The 2019 “Child’s Play” film on Blu-ray is presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, just as it was shown theatrically. The movie was shot digitally in 3.4K resolution on the Arri Alexa Mini camera – according to IMDb. It’s unclear though if this received a 2K or 4K DI (digital intermediate). I’m going to speculate that it received a 2K, as the film wasn’t available in even digital offerings in the 4K format. Basically, there’s no 4K version of this film out there because it doesn’t exist? Now, with that out of the way let’s continue, shall we?
One thing that’s important visually in high def, in any horror film that relies on the dark to give a spooky vibe, is a solid black level, and I’m happy to report this has one. There’s a nice amount of detail that can at times be somewhat impressive during close-ups of characters’ faces, especially Chucky. Whether you love or hate this film you’ll have to admit there’s one hell of a creepy vibe visually present here and it’s benefitting from being from a 3.4K source material.
The color palette is very vibrant at times, especially when you pay close attention to the multicolored sweater that Chucky wears or the bright blue eyes he has. When his eyes turn red, you’ll certainly notice how the color pops nicely as well. This all helps give it that sinister vibe in terms of visuals. I have to really give it that. The special effects hold up really well here and don’t show off any huge flaws either.
All and all, this is an impressive high definition presentation on this Blu-ray Disc. Lastly, I must say that the cinematography here proves to be rather good and is done justice.
Video Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Audio here on this Blu-ray is in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 formats. You’ll obviously want to opt for the lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix instead of that lossy AC3 mix if your system is capable.
One of my absolute favorite things about this film itself and its audio presentation is the original musical score by Bear McCreary. His music proves to be absolutely hypnotic and makes great use of a lot of toy instruments as well as childlike vocal harmonies. This original score makes great use of the rear channels, filling the room with sound in a 5.1 surround configuration and comes with a very nice amount of bass via the subwoofer. The sound effects here manage to pack a bit of a punch so-to-speak, as well, and really help to make this an impressive lossless surround mix.
Dialogue is always key, in any film, and I’m happy to report that it is delivered distinctly via the center channel speaker. I never once found the need to make any volume adjustments here since the dialogue is never overpowered by the music or sound effects. It’s really a great sound presentation that certainly does this film justice, if not perhaps surpasses the film itself – but that’s just my personal opinion.
Audio Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Bonus materials on this release are presented in HD (high definition) video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. They include the following:
- A Digital Code is included with a digital HD version of the film. The sad part here is that you will be forced to choose between the two services iTunes (Apple) and VUDU. You cannot redeem this on any other platforms, nor via both mentioned.
- Audio Commentary by Director Lars Klevberg
- “The Making Of Child’s Play“ (5:05 – HD) gives you some behind-the-scenes & on set footage as well even glimpses of storyboards. It primarily consists of interviews with members of the cast and crew. Those interviewed here include Lars Klevberg (director), Seth Grahame-Smith (producer), Brian Tyree Henry (“Detective Mike Norris”), Aubrey Plaza (“Karen Barclay”), Gabriel Bateman (“Andy Barclay”), and David Katzenberg (producer).
- “Bringing Child’s Play’s Chucky to Life” (4:28 – HD) features on set & behind-the-scenes footage as well as interviews with Aubrey Plaza (“Karen Barclay”), Seth Grahame-Smith (producer), Brian Tyree Henry (“Detective Mike Norris”), Lars Klevberg (director), David Katzenberg (producer), Jason Ward (puppeteer, MastersFX), Gabriel Bateman (“Andy Barclay”), and Keith Arbuthnot (puppeteer, MastersFX). This also briefly discusses the Chucky dolls used as well as the blend of practical special effects (puppeteering) and CG (computer-generated) effects.
- Soundtrack Trailer (3:16 – HD) features a music video of sorts by the film’s musical composer Bear McCreary. This video is downright cool as all hell and flat-out creepy as well.
- “Lee Hardcastle Claymations” were created as promotional pieces for the film and are comprised of the following shorts:
- “Toy Massacre” (0:49 – HD)
- “A.I. Mayhem” (0:48 – HD)
- Gallery (1:03 – HD) can be played with auto-advance or you can manually skip through photos using your remote control. Fourteen photos total are included here.
- Theatrical Trailer (1:02 – HD)
Overall the bonus materials here are way too short. You only get an audio commentary track and like maybe 20 minutes worth of actual extras. It’s a tad bit disappointing.
Bonus Materials Rating: 1.5 (out of 5)
The 2019 version of “Child’s Play” as a film proves to be a bit of a disappointment, especially for fans of the original 1988 film. I’m not sure if we should refer to this film as a true remake but it’s, honestly in my opinion, really not something I think should share the same title as such an iconic late eighties horror film. Sure it uses a similar type of toy doll but it’s a totally different plot as to how the toy doll becomes a knife-wielding killer. It also uses the same names of the main characters as the original film but makes some drastic changes to the age of the mother and son. The film has a few moments along the way where it does come across as somewhat creepy, many thanks to the use of practical special effects and the voice performance by Mark Hamill.
Don’t get me wrong here, this 2019 film is not a terrible film (by any means) but it’s also not at all something that I’d compare to the original film or really all that great. While it may come off across as sinister on a few occasions, it mostly manages to come off as just plain silly. It’s just not something believable, for example, that a 13-year-old boy would accept a toy doll as a gift? I don’t care if the “Buddi” dolls are artificial intelligence devices with control of smart homes? Who would let their children control the lights, security cameras, and television to the home, especially via toy doll?! That, as a plot, is just downright absurd.
Sure, the number of artificial intelligence devices on the market (as of now) are starting to be a bit much and perhaps that is making us somewhat cautious with this type of tech. However, I don’t see some “Teddy Ruxbin“ type doll with a voice assistant level of control built-in becoming a killing machine. I more likely would like to have seen voodoo being a plausible means that some sort of evil could be present in a toy doll. The whole idea of tech gone wrong in the form of a doll just does not work here. Before we finish discussing this film and what I found wrong with it and move onto the discussion of the quality of disc and bonus materials, let me lay some seriously scary stuff on you, kids.
Okay, so I don’t know if anyone has EVER really pointed this out before, especially in the review of the remake, but I just came off watching the most recent film in another film franchise and I cannot help but point this out here. This one is for the true cinephiles out there, so enjoy!
Alright, now hear me out. In this and the original film (Child’s Play), there’s a boy and his name is… Andy. Andy is being raised by a single mother. In the films (both original and remake), the boy’s toy comes to life, and by that, I mean a little too much to life. Well, here’s the strange part. In the movie “Toy Story” (which the promotional ads targeted) the boy was raised by a single mother (as well), he has a toy that comes to life as well, but only when he’s not looking! Folks, let’s just say Pixar really must be the ones laughing all along here, and to think of all those promo posters and such for this film of Chucky destroying the toys from that film. The scary thought though: was Toy Story using a similar formula of sorts to instead make an animated family film. I just find that a tad bit creepy. Perhaps those coincidences are actually creepier than this film itself. Sorry.
Now, with that fun bit out of the way, in terms of video quality, this Blu-ray release comes across as impressive, especially since it was shot digitally in the 3.4K resolution. The lossless 5.1 audio mix also proves to also be impressive and helps deliver the most scares from the eery original music composed by Bear McCreary. The biggest disappointment about this Blu-ray release, however, is the very limited amount of extras you get in terms of bonus materials. It’s roughly not even 20 minutes (if even that) of featurettes and such. There is an audio commentary with the director for those who enjoyed this film enough to want to give that a listen.
In terms of Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.5 (out of 5) for video quality
4.5 (out of 5) for audio quality
1.5 (out of 5) for bonus materials