If you’re on the tech-is-terrifying train, the new reboot of Child’s Play is coming to reinforce all your worst fears. The film’s creators have been tightlipped about this new take on the franchise, choosing to leak only bits and pieces of the story and characters to get fans accustomed to a few significant changes and updates. But the casting of Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry in key roles as Karen Barclay and Detective Mike has been enough to drum up excitement that the story is in good hands.
While the original franchise continues on with its creator, Don Mancini, who’s heading up a television series based on the property for SyFy, this reboot marks the first-ever Child’s Play film that hasn’t been written by Mancini himself. Instead, producers secured the rights of the first Child’s Play film, allowing them to repurpose characters while ignoring the other films in the series — sorry, Bride of Chucky Jennifer Tilly fans.
The first trailer revealed a tongue-in-cheek sensibility as Harry Nilssen’s “Best Friend” played over an ad for the fictitious Kaslan toy company, but another scene featured a beaten and bloody Plaza as Karen, signaling this new version isn’t all fun and games. So, is it funny? Is it scary? Is it satire? Here’s how the new version will be different:
What about the voodoo?
While Don Mancini and director Tom Holland’s original 1988 Child’s Play revolves around a storyline of a homicidal maniac being resurrected into a Chucky doll by a voodoo spell, the new version is all about AI. Director Lars Klevberg says, “[The new script] was refreshing. I thought it was so smart. It managed to… integrate [the AI] into Chucky’s transformation, and build everything around that, how he interacts with human beings.”
Who wrote the screenplay?
The film is written by Tyler Burton Smith, whose credits include 2016’s Quantum Break, a sci-fi video game about stopping time that bridges live-action and video gameplay. With Smith’s background in tech and gaming, it’s not surprising the new Child’s Play focuses on the intersection of tech and humanity. Klevberg said he wouldn’t have taken on the script if he didn’t think he could do something new with it. “One of the things I thought I could do was that [the new script] was really emotional… and had a deeper story underneath everything that appealed to me.”
What’s the new Chucky look like?
Chucky was formerly a Good Guys doll, but his brand name has been changed to BUDDI, playing off of the AI theme. He’s also sporting a new look that was initially designed by Klevberg and his team before Orion Pictures stepped in and finalized the design, which features long arched eyebrows, and slicked-back, shorter hair than the original. All in all, Chucky’s appearance isn’t drastically different. Maybe more refined?
Who’s the voice of Chucky?
While actor Brad Dourif was famous for voicing the resurrected serial killer Charles Lee Ray in the originals, he won’t be returning to this new reboot of the franchise. Voices are yet unannounced, but Klevberg hinted he wasn’t against, for instance, using a child’s voice. “He is the only character who has a great transformation in the movie, and the voice needs to follow that,” Klevberg said when asked if Chucky would be an adult.
Is it funny?
Fans of the original franchise should know that Smith and Klevberg aren’t even going to try to ape the one-liners characteristic of Don Mancini’s Chucky doll. Instead, Klevborg has said that the humor in this version is “not campy, silly humor” and “grows out from the characters.”
Is Andy different?
Six-year-old Andy Barclay was the recipient of the Chucky doll in the original, but Smith’s version pins little Andy at about 12 years old, played by Gabriel Bateman (Lights Out). This also changes how the Chucky doll comes into his hands. His mother Karen miscalculates what her son would want for his birthday and gives him a BUDDI doll. Andy feels sorry for his working-class mom and pretends it’s the greatest gift in the world.
Is Andy a loner?
Nope! He’s got a handful of human buddies this time around, including a kid named Pugg (Ty Consiglio) who’s got a weak stomach — a producer said to expect a lot of fake vomit. And then there’s the brave tomboy girl Falyn (Beatrice Kitsos), who may or may not wield a chainsaw as a weapon.
Is Chucky a loner?
Chucky’s got buddies - sorry, BUDDIs - too. Expect to see a Chucky of every color (and personality), along with an adorable BUDDI Bear who’s out for blood. And because it’s 2019, drones will also figure heavily into this toy world.
Wait, is this a mass-hysteria kind of story?
The first trailer reveals a big setpiece with many people screaming and running for their lives in a toy store, so it’s safe to say this new film is a departure from the original’s encapsulated storyline involving only a few people affected by Chucky’s rampage. On a set visit, greenscreen footage of the BUDDI Bear puppet confirmed that he and others would eventually be digitally inserted into the stampede scene from the trailer. In general, expect more chaos and potentially more deaths.
Check out this behind-the-scenes video of how Chucky was brought to life: