The Child's Play reboot is setting itself up as a different kind of horror film than the 1988 original. But while the initial marketing had kept Chucky largely obscured by shadows, the new trailer gives fans a good look at the murderous doll, voiced by Mark Hamill, in action.
The new footage reveals the reimagining will explore the modern obsession with technology, rather than fall back on a problematic take on voodoo, to explain why the Buddi doll begins targeting the friends and family of a lonely young boy. The trailer also hints at children banding together to fight back, while changing the setting to Christmastime and making Chucky a terrifying avatar for the Amazon Alexa.
Your Best Friend, Chucky
A distinct difference between the original Child's Play and the reimagining is the motivation behind the murders. The classic Chucky was defined by the sheer savagery of the demon worshiper Charles Lee Ray, who had his soul transferred into a Buddi doll when he was killed by the police. It's an explicitly mystical backstory for the evil imp.
The new version of the character may not be quite as overtly malicious. He's designed as the "best friend" for those children with access to a lot of Kaslan-brand technology in their homes: mobile phones, televisions, video game consoles, thermostats, drones. That may suggest Chucky is less of a demonic threat and more of technological one. Not that the humans around the doll will find that distinction comforting.
Alexa ... Kill
One of the most consistent factors in the trailer is our reliance on technology, and how it can be turned against us. Much like in the real world, many of the devices used in the day-to-day lives of the characters are connected through Wi-Fi. Tying those elements together into a singular entity offers dangerous ways for a monstrous force to attack where we feel safest: in our homes.
In the trailer alone, Chucky utilizes smart cars, drones, thermostats and an assortment of household electronics to attack people. By connecting all the tech, the modern household has made Chuck even more dangerous than he was in his original incarnation.
Do They Know It's Christmas?
In the 1988 original, the death of Charles Lee Ray coincidentally, and conveniently, occurred just before the birthday of young Andy Barclay, which permits Chucky to be gifted to him. That film didn't contain any deeper significance to the timing or setting.
The new Child's Play is explicitly set around Christmas: Shoppers funnel into a mall, and Chucky targets one of his victims as he's hanging festive lights on the exterior of his home. That change makes perfect sense, given the reboot's premise, making it clear Chucky isn't the only present being given.
Attack the Block
While both versions of Child's Play focus on a lonely boy with no friends, this trailer makes Andy a more active figure. He's seen interacting with the doll, and trying to use a phone app to control Chucky. He's also not the only child in the story, as multiple shots suggest he will make some friends, who could become targets of Chucky.
The biggest surprise, however, might be the shot of Andy alongside three other kids, who have grabbed a number of household weapons to fight back against the doll. The shot conveys some strong Attack the Block/Stranger Things vibes, which could make for a more compelling climax than simply having the heroes try to shoot a doll.
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 arrives June 21.