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Ultra HD : Worth a Look
Ranking:
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Release Date: March 19th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2019

Child's Play (2019) - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: M. Enois Duarte
Child's Play (2019) reimagines the psychopathic doll possessed by a serial killer as a virtual smart home device and ultimately fails to reboot the franchise for the digital consumer generation. With a new horrifying and hideous Chucky doll already harboring murderous intent at the forefront, the horror satire comes home sorely lacking in scares, suspense, insightful commentary or the humor needed to be satirical. Courtesy of Scream Factory, the home automation horror thriller connects to home theaters through the new-fangled Ultra HD tech, featuring an excellent 4K HDR presentation, a satisfying DTS-HD MA track and a trio of new bonus features. Overall, the UHD edition is Worth A Look for the most devoted Chucky fans while casual friends 'til the end might want to check the film out first before deciding on a purchase.

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Two-Disc UHD Combo Pack, UHD-100 Triple-Layer Disc, BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc, Region Free
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265 - Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10
Length:
90
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.39:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Special Features:
Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Still Gallery, Trailers
Release Date:
March 19th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Attempting to reboot the favorite horror franchise as a remake, Child's Play (2019) reimagines the psychopathic doll possessed by a serial killer as a virtual smart home device, making it an overtly, heavy-handed satirical commentary on AI technology and contemporary consumerism. Sadly, this central premise is both the movie's winning feature and its demise. Some aspects of the plot are comically entertaining — the Chucky doll imitating Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and placing the skinned face of a man on a watermelon — while many others fall flat or are just eye-rollingly stupid — kids try to retrieve said watermelon from a neighbor and then, dump it down a trash chute. In fact, that nod to Tobe Hooper's black comedy slasher is just as confusing as it is misguided since it's never clear if we're meant to take the entire sequence also as a commentary on the dangers of graphic violence on younger viewers. 

The screenplay by Tyler Burton Smith, whose best-known credits are video games and cowriting the upcoming Boy Kills World, puts so much emphasis on being clever and incisive that it forgets to fashion its ideas into anything remotely creepy or ominous let alone ingenious or insightful. Granted, the movie is never without an overabundance of macabre, atmospheric visuals, thanks to the competent direction of Lars Klevberg and the skilled cinematography of Brendan Uegama (Riverdale). Genuinely, that is meant as a compliment and the production's strongest attribute, making for a surprisingly good-looking horror flick strewn with several graphic kills that amusingly feel like callbacks to the 80s slasher era. But simply making it look eerie does not immediately translate to being eerie, especially when some personality traits add nothing of value outside of feigning significance or that somehow it will lead to something of consequence. 

Giving Andy (Gabriel Bateman of Lights Out and Annabelle fame) a hearing aid is brought up a few times and even made a point of importance — in a Chekhov's gun style. But it doesn't add to the character's development outside of just being another gadget that Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill) can hack and manipulate, which only happens in the final climactic finish to unsurprisingly little effect. Meanwhile, Andy's struggling widowed mom, Karen (a bored Aubrey Plaza just phoning it in), is expectedly concerned about her son's needs and lack of friends, prompting the purchase of the high-tech Buddi doll. Yet, she seems oblivious to the emotional and verbal abuse Andy endures in the hands of mom's boyfriend (David Lewis), which admittedly, is vindicated in the most satisfying way. But again, these plot elements — a hearing impairment and the death of Andy's father — are of little to no consequence since removing any of them would literally change nothing in the outcome or progression of the story. The end result is still the same.

The plot of this reboot-remake fancies itself more than it actually is — a straightforward slasher about an unsuspecting, seemingly-innocent doll that wants to kill a sweet, credulous child. Replacing the supernatural element of the Tom Holland-Don Mancini original with a malfunctioning AI smart home appliance due to a disgruntled worker is ultimately a weak attempt to be relevant or seem like an insightful satire about our current consumer obsession with digital devices. And that's to say nothing of the horrifyingly hideous and disturbing Chucky doll, completely ruining all the mystery and failing to produce any sense of suspense seeing as how the doll looks like it possesses a murderous intent from the onset. Much like this new Chucky aches to be loved and adored as a loyal friend 'til the end, Child's Play (2019), too, pines for horror-hounds to embrace this reimagining, but it really belongs in the trash bin along with all the other rejected tech gimmicks, like the Google Glasses, Microsoft Zune, Samsung Bixby, Apple Maps, Amazon Fire Phone and all the rest. I'd rather have a M3GAN in my house.

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Scream Factory brings Child's Play (2019) to 4K Ultra HD as a two-disc Collector's Edition combo pack. The Region Free, UHD100 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region A locked, BD50 disc, and both are housed inside the standard black keepcase with a cardboard slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to a menu screen with the usual selection in the bottom left corner while full-motion clips play in the center of a Chucky box with music playing in the background.

Video Review

Ranking:

The reimagined Chucky reboot successfully pairs with the Ultra HD smart home featuring several new impressive updates fans are sure to enjoy, but all things considered, this HEVC H.265 encode is a fairly plain upgrade from the previous edition, a Blu-ray 2.0 if you will. That's not to suggest there is anything wrong or disappointing with the end result, as it does show a welcome uptick in overall definition and clarity. Reportedly coming from a fresh new 4K digital intermediate, the transfer arrives with sharper details where we can better make out the griminess of the apartment and the individual bricks. However, it's not quite the night-and-day difference we've come to expect from a recent production, and there are a few instances of minor aliasing along the sharpest edges here and there.

The video's strongest and best aspect is the improved contrast and brightness balance, especially the inkier blacks and the deep, midnight shadows, which maintaining excellent visibility within the darkest, murkiest corners of the 2.39:1 frame. Whites are clean and brilliant throughout, and specular highlights add a crisp, tight resplendence to the hottest areas without engulfing the finer details, like the headlights of vehicles and the electric sparkles. Also, the Dolby Vision HDR presentation is awash in lively, richly-saturated color palette, bathing the background of the screen in a flamboyant display of animated reds, fiery oranges, energetic blues, and dynamic greens. Facial complexions appear healthy with an accurate peachy-red tone in the entire cast, making an overall fantastic picture in spite of its minor drawbacks. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 90/100)

Audio Review

Ranking:

The horror thriller about home automation run amok panics home theaters with the same but still excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. A majority of the action takes place in the fronts, displaying convincing movement between the channels and into the off-screen space while dialogue is at all times well-prioritized and discernable amid the chaos. Imaging maintains strong definition and distinction during the loudest moments, exhibiting a clean and extensive mid-range. Occasionally, ambient effects smoothly travel into the surrounds with appreciable directionality, expanding the soundfield and nicely enveloping the listener, especially in the climactic finish inside the department store. The Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality extends a few of those atmospherics seamlessly into the overheads, further broadening the soundscape and adding another amusing layer to the lossless mix. All in all, the track is a great listen and strong complement to the 4K video. (Audio Rating: 84/100)

Special Features

Ranking:

The same set of supplements are ported over from the previous Blu-ray release and joined by three new surprises for fans to enjoy.

  • Audio Commentary with director Lars Klevberg riding solo
  • NEW A Beautiful Darkness (HD, 13 min) is an interview with production designer Dan Hermansen
  • NEW A New Start (HD, 11 min) is an interview with actor Gabriel Bateman 
  • NEW Head of the Patch (HD, 9 min) is an interview with actor David James Lewis
  • The Making of Child's Play (HD, 5 min)
  • Bringing Child's Play's Chucky to Life (HD, 5 min)
  • Soundtrack Trailer (HD, 3 min)
  • Lee Hardcastle Claymations (HD, 2 min)
  • Still Gallery (HD)
  • Trailers (HD)

Reimagining the psychopathic doll possessed by a serial killer as a virtual smart home device, Child's Play (2019) is ultimately a failed remake attempting to reboot the franchise for the digital consumer generation. However, with a new horrifyingly hideous and disturbing Chucky doll already harboring murderous intent at the forefront, the horror satire comes home sorely lacking in scares, suspense, insightful commentary or the humor needed to be satirical. Courtesy of Scream Factory, the home automation horror thriller connects to home theaters through 4K Ultra HD technology, featuring an excellent Dolby Vision HDR presentation, a satisfying DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and a trio of new bonus features. Overall, the UHD edition is Worth A Look for the most devoted fans while loyal friends 'til the end might want to check it out first before deciding on a purchase.

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.