Film Round-Up: Child’s Play, Crawl, Gemini Man and Midsommar
Ooh, four films this time!
A controversial reboot of the Child’s Play franchise with Chucky being reborn as an AI driven Alexa type doll. I get why fans were annoyed this happened, the original series was amazingly still running just as straight to DVD releases, but I think once they’ve gotten over that they’ll find a movie that truly follows in the spirit of the original. I like the update that Chucky is no longer a doll possessed by a serial killer and instead is basically an Alexa in a doll which does the usual AI thing of misinterpreting commands. It’s modern and it gives the film makers lots of choices for the kills because he can link with connected products to do some fun murders. That’s a strange phrase, fun murders, isn’t it? This may be a horror but I don’t think it’s main aim is to be scary, instead it wants to be one of those fun horrors that you watch in a group, laugh at the many jokes and cheesiness of it all, jump a few times and make some ugh noises when things get particularly gory. And I believe it achieves all of that, so fair play to Child’s Play.
A swimmer and her father get trapped in a house in a hurricane. To make things worse, there are man eating alligators trapped with them. Crawl is definitely trying to fit the same hole that Child’s Play is, i.e being a fun group horror movie rather than a truly terrifying experience. Unfortunately, this does fail completely. Unlike Child’s Play which goes at a rapid pace, Crawl takes ages to get to the main conceit and doesn’t do anything with that time to establish character which might put it above its competitors. Of course the alligator scenes are fun in a way but then they end and the movie relies on a dull script inbetween those scenes and it feels like ages between each fight with the reptiles. The movie is very short but it really doesn’t feel it because the movie just goes on during these bits trying to be emotional and affecting. But then alligators attack and it becomes faintly ridiculous and undercuts all of that. If you want a fun horror movie this Halloween, check out Child’s Play.
Will Smith has to fight a clone of himself. It’s pretty simple. It’s also very boring. This is one of the worst Will Smith performances I’ve seen but it’s not down to him, it’s down to a meagre script that fails to take advantage of the performer they have. If you have Smith in your film, you give him lots of one-liners, allow him to be as charming as possible and then press play. This movie makes him dark, disaffected and just miserable for most of the film which is not fun and not something that Smith excels in. It’s a waste of a performer and it’s not as the younger clone Smith is any better. You’d hope the action scenes would be better, especially with a fantastic director like Ang Lee at the helm, but they at best uninspiring and at worst look fake. Sometimes the movements of the characters looks really odd and makes the movie feel more like a video game than a film. It all leads to a very rubbish action movie.
Florence Pugh goes with her boyfriend and his friends to visit a Swedish commune and because it’s a cult in the middle of nowhere, weird stuff starts to happen. You know how Child’s Play and Crawl are trying to be fun horror movies which try to be enjoyably scary? Yeah, Midsommar is not that movie. While not trying to be outright terrifying, that was Ari Aster’s previous movie Hereditary which I thought was terrible but while I was out the world decided was a classic so whatever, it definitely doesn’t want you to have fun. It wants you to be on edge, it wants to be permanently creeped out and by the way, it wouldn’t mind if you felt rather sick and had to go have some Pepto-Bismol afterwards. And it certainly does that. It’s a slow burn that starts off rather dark with a murder-suicide, the only shocking for the sake of shocking that Aster does in this so big improvement on Hereditary on that front, but it only gets worse as the true face of the Swedish cult start to reveal itself. It’s heavily inspired by The Wicker Man which has a similar premise, it even has a bear suit like the remake though nothing as hilarious happens with it as Nicholas Cage suckerpunching someone, and comes really close to the quality of the original. The movie is too long and not everything about it works, but it’s still the most unsettling film of the year.