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Film Review: Child’s Play

“At Kaslan We Believe That Happiness Is About More Than Entertainment. It’s About Being Known, Understood, Loved…”

Whilst sniffy critics in the past have balked at the idea of “classic” horror movies being brought back to the big screen in either a spin-off or complete remake capacity, with the most pointless and offensively bad cases come the turn of the century undoubtedly being the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s fair to say that 1988’s Child’s Play is a movie which isn’t exactly held in the same esteem as classic works from the likes of Wes Craven or Tobe Hooper, hence an almost absence of complaint following this week’s release of the similar titled remake/reboot. Directed by Norwegian director, Lars Klevberg, in his big screen directorial debut, Child’s Play couldn’t come at a more ironic time, arriving side-by-side with Disney’s Toy Story 4, yet obviously not the type of film to take your small children, and with a particularly impressive cast including Aubrey Plaza (Ingrid Goes West, Legion) and Tyree Henry (Widows), the latest reincarnation of the kill-crazy toy is actually a rather highly enjoyable, dare I say it, guilty pleasure.

With central idea of Child’s Play essentially being a Goosebumps style, late-night nightmare with R-rated violence, the many sequels which followed the 1988 original didn’t exactly manage to set the world on fire, with the series sort of matching the Puppet Master franchise for baffling levels of endurance, but with a improved financial backing and the likes of Plaza, Henry and of course Mark Hamill (Star Wars) as the voice of Chucky himself added into proceedings, there is no doubting the ambition of the movie to try and break into the mainstream sector once again after falling by the wayside and on straight-to-video. With juicy moments of exploitation violence, a justifiably naff script and enough tonal irregularities to make your head pop, Klevberg’s movie follows on from the likes of Brightburn only recently by being a movie which knows both its’ limitations and weaknesses and plays heavily to both, resulting in having just enough quality to appease hardcore horror fans and lay audience members alike, particularly thanks to the new design of Chucky which manages to tap into contemporary concerns about the growing rate of technology. Hereditary it most definitely is not, but if you’re after cheap, Friday night horror violence, then Child’s Play circa 2019 is indeed the movie for you.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Lights Out

“Ghosts Don’t Exist…”

Although horror films of the 21st century that tend to lean more on the side of the theory that if its’ dark and loud, people will find it inherently spooky, tend to be movies that are less inclined to be remembered as masterpieces of the genre, David F. Sandberg’s Lights Out, the latest James Wan inflicted horror based upon the short film of the same name written and directed by Sandberg himself back in 2013, doesn’t exactly break the mould of bang-average horror re-hashes, but it is most definitely one of the better additions to the genre in the past few years. Although Lights Out is yet another case of a horror movie that includes cliches galore and noticeable riffs from previous horror ventures, the film does manage to at least get the job done in the most effective time possible, swaying away from being dragged out long enough to delve into its’ rather questionable plot devices whilst effectively playing out in the correct, logical fashion during its’ final act.

Where the films’ strengths inherently lie is the age-old idea that darkness is indeed not man’s best friend, with the danger and ambiguity it brings being personified by the embodiment of Diana, a malevolent spirit latched onto the broken mind of Sophie (Maria Bello) whose children become the target of Diana’s unstable nastiness. Although the film isn’t exactly terrifying, the sense of threat that Diana brings with her every time she is on screen in the first hour or so is indeed quite startling. Of course, the fundamental notion of monsters in the dark isn’t exactly original either, with films such as Darkness Falls and The Woman In Black coming to the forefront of my mind, yet before the big revelation of Diana within the films’ dodgy final act, her presence alone was enough to be worthy of admission. Not groundbreaking, but surprisingly solid, Lights Out is popcorn-ridden horror from start to finish.

Overall Score: 6/10