A single mother (Aubrey Plaza) gives her son (Gabriel Bateman) a defective toy doll named Buddi (voiced by Mark Hamill) for his birthday, unaware that when activated, it has a lethal side.


Almost from the very get-go of 'Child's Play', there's an awareness of just how crap it really is. It's not that it's given up on itself, or even that it's acknowledging the limitations of an unoriginal concept, it's that it simply embraces the utter silliness of a talking doll that murders people. You can't unearth subtext from it, you can't engage in any kind of chin-scratching treatise about the nature of childhood neglect in a late-stage capitalist society - you just have to take it at face value.

On that basis, 'Child's Play' is effective.

It's a horror-comedy with heavy emphasis on the comedy. You're going in with no illusions or suppositions that it's going to be some kind of deep, thought-provoking opus. It's 90 minutes long; a quick rip through some familiar beats, some silly jokes, chock-full of cartoon violence and silly acting from all concerned. Mark Hamill goes great guns as the evil doll, who in this instance is the result of a disgruntled and undervalued worker in Vietnam, whilst Aubrey Plaza does her best as the struggling single mother who's just trying to provide for her child while working menial retail jobs. Hey, maybe we can get some late-stage capitalism critiques in there after all...

Lars Klevberg's direction is about as subtle as a fart in a bath-tub, and almost breaks a record for foreshadowing the kills. The violence, as mentioned, lives firmly in the ridiculous and takes its cues from Tobe Hooper's 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' - even featuring a key scene from that movie in this at one point.

As well as this, the marketing campaign for 'Child's Play' has outdone itself by referencing another story of a boy and his toy - 'Toy Story' - in its posters, even going so far as naming the child lead in this as Andy. Again, it's not subtle at all, but it's effective and you'll find yourself chuckling along at how gruesomely fun it all is, despite your best intentions not to.

If you can live with some of the hokey horror tropes, often played for laughs more than anything, and your humour veers into the twisted, you're in for a good time.