Australian Council on Children and the Media

Child’s Play

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Not suitable under 16

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Child’s Play
  • a review of Child’s Play completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 July 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 16 Not suitable. Violence, scary scenes and coarse language

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Child’s Play
Classification: MA15+
Consumer advice lines: Strong horror themes and violence
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A Vietnamese factory worker is belittled, humiliated and fired but not before, in a last act of defiance, he removes all the safety settings on the Buddi doll he is building. Meanwhile in the United States a lonely kid named Andy (Gabriel Bateman) has just moved into a new neighbourhood and is having trouble making friends. When a defective Buddi doll is returned to the store where Andy’s mum Karen (Aubrey Plaza) works she brings it home for her son. At first Andy isn’t impressed but the doll, self-named Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill), keeps trying to show that he cares for Andy and a friendship of sorts is born. When the other kids see how unique Chucky is and how he is capable of learning whatever they teach him, no matter how inappropriate it may be, Andy finds himself with real friends Pug (Ty Consiglio) and Falyn (Beatrice Kitsos) who are there to help Andy when the killings begin. Together they hide the evidence of what is happening and try to destroy Chucky before he can kill everyone that Andy cares about.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Consumerism, fears of social isolation, the complexities of friendship, the battle of good vs. evil.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Frequent use of extreme and gory violence throughout the film.
  • A factory worker commits suicide by throwing himself off a building on to a car. The impact is shown.
  • Chucky strangles Andy’s cat nearly killing it before Andy can stop him. He later kills the cat with a knife.
  • Andy is shoved by his mum’s boyfriend and he gets into a fist fight with some kids.
  • Frequent stabbings, slashings, chainsaw mutilations, table saw mutilations, a head that is partially put through a lawnmower, faces are peeled off of bodies and worn or left as a present, a hammer to the head, helicopter toys that go crazy and fly into people slashing them in the neck and face with their blades.
  • A woman is held hostage in a robotic car by Chucky. The car is smashed and her seatbelt and airbag disengage just before impact. Her body is found on the pavement with a knife in her chest.
  • Andy trashes their apartment with a baseball bat trying to rid himself of Chucky’s voice and presence.
  • Andy’s mum is hung by her neck and nearly dies before Andy is able to cut her free while Chucky is trying to stab him with a knife.
  • Chucky is shot, dismembered, beaten and burned.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Chucky’s eyes repeatedly glow red when he gets crazy or homicidal. The effect is creepy and disturbing.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Andy is devastated when he realises that Chucky has killed their cat. He is terrified as he places the bloody body in a box and sends it down the garbage chute. The killing itself is not shown but the aftermath is clear and there is a pool of blood on the floor.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Andy realises that Chucky is going to kill his mum and tries to protect her but many of the toys have gone rogue and Chucky is able to hold Karen hostage with a noose around her neck while he taunts Andy with words like “If they don’t let us play they all go away…”
  • Chucky repeatedly tries to kill Andy, flying at him with a knife out of nowhere. A number of jump scares are involved.
  • Chucky goes after Karen’s boyfriend and makes him fall off a ladder breaking both his legs as he lands. He screams for help but no one can hear him. As he drags himself across the lawn there is a rustling in the dark garden and a lawnmower is started. The boyfriend is tangled in Christmas lights and the mower begins to drag him towards the blades. The top of his head gets mangled in the blades as blood spurts everywhere. His hair shoots out the back of the mower and his body is shown the following morning without a face, just the blood and bones. Chucky places the face over a watermelon, ties it with a ribbon and leaves it as a present in Andy’s room. Andy is horrified and his friends vomit from the sight.
  • When the maintenance man fixes Chucky, Chucky decides to open the man up as well. Chucky repeatedly stabs him, dragging a knife down his chest. As the man moves away, bleeding heavily, he gets onto a table and holds on to a pipe as the table gives way beneath him. Chucky turns up the temperature of the pipe to make the man fall onto a saw. The man is swearing and terrified as he tries to hold on while his flesh sizzles. First his toes are chopped off, moments later he drops and body parts fly in different direction as blood is sprayed everywhere.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Many of the above mentioned scenes could also frighten children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • No product placement was noticed in the film however there is a fictional brand called Kaslan that appears to have a worldwide business monopoly and has linked all kinds of products together to be used in a variety of ways. There are parallels between this and some real life companies although no names are mentioned.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • An internet meme of Chucky is shown making a humping motion.
  • Karen blackmails her manager into giving her the Buddi doll by talking about the time he had sex with a woman in their warehouse and then asking: “How’s your wife?”
  • A man appears to be an adulterer when it is revealed that despite having a relationship with Andy’s mum he also has a wife and two daughters.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Andy walks in on his mum kissing a man in their apartment. His mum looks dishevelled and the guy is doing up his belt, implying they’ve just had sex.
  • A maintenance man spies on people with cameras he has set up all over the building including one in Andy’s bathroom where his mum is preparing to take a shower. He watches, fascinated and excited as she removes her bra. Her underwear is still on when the camera cuts out and her back is to the camera.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Brief shot of someone smoking.
  • A man drinks a beer at home.
  • A police officer talks about the neighbourhood and mentions drinking and drug problems.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Frequent use by both children and adults including terms and phrases such as: “Fuck, “Shit,” “Motherfucker,” “Asshole,” “Bitch,” “Dumbass” and “Dick.”

In a nutshell

Child’s Play is a horror film. A remake of the 1980’s slasher movie bearing the same name this latest version stands on its own. It is fast paced, the characters are well developed and while it will appeal to Chucky fans or those who love horror movies this is not a film for children or young teens.

The main messages from this movie are that true friendship and human interaction are important and cannot be made or replaced by robotics, that violence is easily learned and perpetrated and that ultimately good will triumph over evil.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Friendship
  • Teamwork
  • Courage
  • Persistence

 

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The lack of responsibility that Kaslin took for the malfunction of its product and the death and destruction wrought as a result.
  • Failing to tell the truth or get adult help when necessary.
  • Over-reliance on technology.
  • The importance of community building and how neighbours can help each other.

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