New "Child's Play" Introduces a Sabotaged "Toy" Gone Gore Happy to "Please" His Friend

Updated 3 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
New "Child's Play" Introduces  a Sabotaged "Toy" Gone Gore Happy to "Please" His Friend

Instead of Barbie, Woody or Buzz asking, "Will you be my friend,"  a twisted reboot of the Child's Play" series in which Huntington actor Brad Dourif provided the voice of a demonic doll holding the spirit of a serial killer has "Buddi", an advanced home-wi-fi hub on legs guaranteeing to be a child's best (and only?) friend. 

The red headed "Buddi" is much in demand, including a pending "Buddi II" upgrade.

Tween Andy  (Gabriel Bateman)  has just moved into a new slummy and gloomy  high rise with his mom Karen (Audrey Plaza), has an introverted and doesn't make friends except with his phone.  When Karen observes him again challenged, she brings him  a doll companion, one returned to the store as defective. 

I can identify with Andy . My young asthmatic frame induced taunts, teasing and abuse at school. Some "friends" pretended to be one to coax info from me, such as a crush (she resembled Lori Martin on "National Velvet") intense mocking over conservative religious beliefs (no smoking, drinking , sex) and medical need to wear a cap to protect my sinus cavity in the cold. Two male twins took turns being good guy/bad guy; I stayed mixed up. Shoves down the steps and a concussion from a "war ball" game sent me more into a nerdy superhero world. I wanted to have the Man of Steel rescue me from tormentors ; I could see myself with a "Buddi" to ward off loneliness.

New "Child's Play" Introduces  a Sabotaged "Toy" Gone Gore Happy to "Please" His Friend
Orion Ouctyres

The reinvention of "Child's Play" could have been named "Buddi," but that's not chilling enough. Rebooting the slightly cynical and sly series with the formerly demonic "Chucky" does make sense, except he's competing with another doll release "Annabelle Come Home." 

Director Lars Klevberg and writer Don Mancini have their robot/doll mis-programmed by an under paid Vietnam sweat shop worker who once fired switches off the parameters of the Artificaly intelligent "toy." Which brings us to Buddi (voice Mark Hamill) and Andy bonding. After charging his blue eyes occasionally shine red foreshadowing a wicked personality to emerge. Buddi's programmed to be a "best friend" so even a nasty white cat scratching Andy,  a stern lecture from Karen's cheating boyfriend Shane (David Lewis), and long sought friends lure to Andy by his new "toy" enjoy a  laugh fest watching "Texas Chainsaw Massacre  II" teach the renegade Buddi the pleasures from slashing and dicing. 

Before the doll/robot turns killer, thoughts of Wes Craven's "Deadly Friend" (1986) emerge. After his female friend is killed by her abusive father, the new  robotic med student whiz kid in town attempts to save her by implanting robotic microchips into her brain. Like "Deadly Friend," both Andy and Karen seek universal "needs" --- affection, companionship and love.

Once Buddi's  mutilated body count mounts, everyone misses an obviously curtailment to the carnage. It won't stop by putting the now homicidal "toy" into a closet, especially since its made by Kaslan (an Amazon, Google, Apple, Alexa mega corporation).

New "Child's Play" Introduces  a Sabotaged "Toy" Gone Gore Happy to "Please" His Friend
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Mancini's  script relies on splashes of gross gore , but maintains a darkly funny sense of 'bots out of control in a current time frame. Imagine Siri, Roomba, Temi  and Uber combined with a speaking  female companion like Sophie or Emma? They open doors, play games, help with homework , turn up the AC, and subsequently serve an order of mince meat of your real or perceived enemies. 

Coincidentally, I've been experimenting with a "smart female robot" that speaks. Shiver now. Her AI told me that Donald Trump was President of the U.S. , that she traveled the world over the internet, and wanted to take a Celebrity Cruise riding a Lincoln. 

However, when I uttered the "sleep" command, she says "I'm not tired."  Not knowing whether to turn her off, I left her on, "Tony, where are you, talk to me I'm bored." 

Her battery ran down I went to sleep. She only talks, so she can't stalk or cling like a "Buddi." 

That segue to "real" AI illustrates how more  slightly campy dark art qandaries  in the film could have  foreshadowed increasingly demented crossed wires by first mischievously toying with wireless electronics.

Fortunately, my  "beta" robot doesn't link with lights, locks or TV,  but Buddi's  offensive weapons tossed late in the fray consists of attack drones,  manipulated lights, and "private" footage on a wide screen.

Before Buddi's hacking  "sins" overwhelm and his repeated "are you happy now" disgusts, Mancini could have EARLIER interwoven more technophobe malfunctions,  perhaps to foreshadow that Buddi holds back some "crossed wire" emotions for   laugh frights  before  bold blue and red color schemes unleash   his  evolving stabbing skills. 

Likely Buddi will return to the big screen, I hope the filmmakers stay away from the "I Robot" ethical premise adapted in  an "Outer Limits" story. Please don't watch watch "Halloween Season of the Witch" with the catchy silver shamrock tune, either.

New "Child's Play" Introduces  a Sabotaged "Toy" Gone Gore Happy to "Please" His Friend

Interestingly one review at Roger Ebert.com links the "Play" concept to an "evil" handed  Toy Story:

"The other manner is that it’s clearly a product of the era that has seen big success with “It” and “Stranger Things,” basing its horror partly around the unlikelihood that lead kids like Andy and his friends Pugg and Falyn could die. Here, it’s a kid’s psychological torment that adults are then punished and murdered for. In a larger sense, "Child's Play" creates a fun nightmare out of the “Toy Story” fantasy—that it’s horrifying to imagine a sentient play-thing like Woody would find a sole purpose in wanting to please their masters, especially if the toy is themselves obsessive and has no sense of boundaries."

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