Child’s Play (2019) ends with a corporate apology video, and if that ending feels familiar it’s not because you saw it in another movie. Instead, the new horror movie spoofs our own reality in a way that may hit a little too close to home.
In 2010, BP made a boo boo in the Gulf of Mexico and spilled 210 million gallons of oil into the ocean. Weeks later, then CEO Tony Hayward filmed an apology, which when watched on on mute looked like a scene from a teen melodrama than the statement of a corporation that just violently polluted the Earth. South Park would have its fun when it had a caricature of Hayward give a non-apology in a field of dandelions for unleashing the Elder God, C’thulhu.
It’s corporate “We’re sorry” videos like these, not unlike Facebook’s ad after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, that get roasted in the new film Child’s Play. In theaters on June 21, Child’s Play is a reboot of the 1988 slasher film of the same name that spawned a franchise. Whereas the original satirized ‘80s consumerism, the 2019 version spoofs the dangerous ubiquity of smart devices and a loss of privacy which we’ve willingly surrendered.
The end of the film, which takes place in a neighborhood shopping center, is full of metaphors and symbolic imagery that perfectly encapsulate the recurring themes of the entire film series. Here’s what went down at the end of Child’s Play and why it’s a lot funnier, and darker, than it looks.
Spoilers for Child’s Play ahead.
In Child’s Play, there exists a consumer tech giant company named Kaslan Corp. An unholy entity that’s like Apple crossed with Hasbro, the company manufactures the popular “Buddi Doll,” a toy for kids that can be used as a fun connection to other Kaslan Corp smart home devices.
From turning on the lights, to playing music, to running the automatic vacuum, everything could be controlled through a Buddi Doll.
But one unlucky family comes into possession of a rogue Buddi whose safety measures have been switched off. After bodies begin to pile up around him, 13-year-old Andy (Gabriel Bateman) discovers the true, horrific nature of his Buddi Doll, which named itself Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill).
The end of the film takes place on the midnight release of the new model, the “Buddi 2.” There, inside a packed store where Andy’s mom Karen (played by Aubrey Plaza) works, Chucky connects itself to the devices inside, massacring the hysteric shoppers. If they weren’t about to stomp over each other trying to get a Buddi, they definitely stomp over each other trying to get out.
Of course, Andy and his new friends step up to stop Chucky and rescue Karen, who hangs by her neck in the back room of the store. Although both Andy and Karen take turns beating Chucky, the doll is finally “killed” for real by Detective Mike (Brian Tyree Henry), a homicide detective who suspects Andy of these murders until he learns the truth.
With Chucky dead and smashed to pieces by Andy and his friends, the nightmare is over. That’s when Kaslan CEO Henry Kaslan (Tim Matheson) issues an “apology” for the “incident.” Kaslan Corp then issues a recall of all the Buddi 2 dolls. That’s when the film follows a single Buddi 2 doll on a packed truck, whose eyes glow red before the credits roll.
What Does It Mean?
Literally speaking, “Chucky” is still alive, likely having transferred his artificial intelligence into another doll. If Chucky could effortlessly connect across devices, which he does throughout the movie, it stands to reason Chucky can transfer his consciousness into another doll. Maybe future Child’s Play films will up the ante and have Chucky transfer into the computers at NORAD.
Thematically, though, you can’t help but see Child’s Play as a satire of modern consumerism. Both the midnight release and portrayal of shoppers as like a herd of stampeding buffalo speaks to such American traditions as lining up for new video games and Star Wars toys at midnight and Thanksgiving Black Friday. It’s all very on the nose, really.
From the very beginning, starting with the original Child’s Play from director Tom Holland (not that Tom Holland) and creator Don Mancini, the Chucky films have spoofed the insidious ways we’ve allowed materialism to destroy ourselves. The reboot takes the idea a few steps further by literally connecting Chucky to Andy’s home, which gives him a nearly omniscient presence throughout his reign of terror.
And that’s what’s so chilling about the apology by Kaslan. It’s so septic, it’s virtually inhuman, which is fitting. The scariest thing about the ending of Child’s Play is that you’ve seen it for real whenever brands mess up big time. It’s not just an amusing ending to a horror film, it’s also entirely believable.
Will there be a sequel to Child’s Play? The film’s ending leaves this possibility wide open, so it’s only a matter of whether or not the box office performance is up to par that guarantees a sequel. Given the themes we just discussed, it’s actually kind of scary how it’s money that will decide Chucky’s fate.
Child’s Play is in theaters now.