One of the most striking things about the new Child's Play is how surprisingly sympathetic the murderous doll is when compared to his previous incarnation. The other Chucky films portrayed the character as an unrepentant serial killer who used voodoo to transfer his spirit into a doll so he could continue his rampage.
However, in a screened screened for CBR, Chucky is strangely endearing. He's unconnected to magic in the upcoming reboot, and is instead a new artificial intelligence, a Buddi doll designed by manufacturer Kaslan to connect to the company's other products and smart-home devices: televisions, phones, thermostats, drones. What could possibly go wrong? Young Andy Barclay finds out when his mother buys him a seemingly innocent Buddi doll.
During an interview with CBR, director Lars Klevberg discussed how he views Chucky through a tragic lens, and how it allowed him to make the character more sympathetic.
Klevberg was the first to admit he initially balked at the idea of directing a remake of the classic 1988 slasher film Child's Play.
"When they sent me the Child's Play script, I was like 'I respect Child's Play but I would never make a Child's Play movie,'" he said. "Then I read it, and loved it. It was so well-written, and what I loved most about it was that Chucky's arc was written so beautifully. I started comparing it to a Greek tragedy.
"His arc is very, very interesting because, for me, everything he does and every motivation he has in possible and understandable but ethically not right," Klevberg continued. "And that ... creates a great antagonist. You can understand his motivation, but can't agree with what he's doing. That kind of conflict will be present for the entire movie."
The original Chucky also had pretty clear motivations, but this new take on the character depicts a slower, and more deliberate, growth into a murderer.
"The most interesting part of this movie for me was making a Chucky that you could understand," Klevberg said, "but [that audiences] couldn't side with. When he goes on in this movie and transforms into his arc it's grotesque and horrifying, but a part of you can say you understand what he's doing... it allowed me to do something with the character that hadn't been done."
Directed by Lars Klevberg from a script by Tyler Burton Smith, Child's Play stars Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, Gabriel Bateman, Tim Matheson and Mark Hamill. The film opens on June 21.