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Child’s Play

Opening Date
11 Jul 2019
M18 Violence & Gore
90 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Lars Klevberg
Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson, Gabriel Bateman
A mother gives her son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.
By Jason Lin  10 Jul 2019
Klevberg’s Child’s Play is based on a simple premise – an artificial intelligence (A.I.) doll that went rogue to cause terror.
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With the proliferation of digital technology driven by information, it is just a matter of time before human explores the dark side of the digital realm. Norwegian filmmaker Lars Klevberg leverages on said technology to reboot the classic horror as a science fiction horror thriller.
Klevberg’s Child’s Play is based on a simple premise – an artificial intelligence (A.I.) doll that went rogue to cause terror. Connected to the Internet and armed with a suite of sensors, the audience is introduced to an IoT-based Chucky (one can even track what Chucky sees through a mobile app).
The film opens with a disgruntled factory worker in Vietnam who decided to remove all safety protocols and reprogrammed the A.I. algorithms of a toy unit. Said toy conveniently end up in the hands of Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) who gifted it to her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman).
Like any person interfacing new inventions, Andy finds himself intrigued with what Chucky is capable of. The toy doll was designed to become more than a playmate to its human master – a best friend who will always be by his/her side. Paying homage to the classic killer doll, the smart doll eventually finds its hands on a kitchen knife.
Once it does, Klevberg doesn’t hold back and showcases his technique to spook and entertain. Most scenes of Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill!) staking out its victims involve a good dosage of tense moments. Some of which culminates in bloody and gory entertainment that may (or may not) be to the liking of viewers.
Given that the antagonist is the technology behind Chucky, there is not a single element of supernatural presence and involvement in the film. As a result, many might perceive technology as potential evil – when it is the contrary. Technology is only but a tool that produces specific outcomes based on the person who wields it.
Chucky started off as a pure and naïve doll that progressively observed and learnt the contaminated behaviour of the people around. This includes profanity, violence and many negative notions that Chucky misinterpreted out of context. When Andy says that he hates his cat for scratching him in a quick moment of frustration, try imagining what Chucky decides to do.
While it might be a fresh take that is relevant in today’s digital era of advanced technology, Klevberg’s Child’s Play doesn’t quite fulfil its emotional payload that it might have intended to explore in terms of the human-machine dynamics. The best moments of the film are still based on the 1988 classic – when a killer doll strikes with a knife in its hand.
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