clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Child’s Play’s new teaser trailer looks like mindless, bloody fun

Chucky’s latest outing might be an argument for bringing middlebrow fun back to horror.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

I understand your concerns. I can hear your cries of “Whyyy?” from across the internet.

But the new teaser trailer for the upcoming Child’s Play remake has me wondering if this reboot might actually be kind of worth it.

Don’t get me wrong. Judging from the trailer, nothing about this new version of the storied franchise in which a creepy doll comes to life and kills people seems particularly vital, necessary, or culturally trenchant. At a glance, the plot seems to be roughly the same as the original 1988 Child’s Play: A mom gives her son a creepy doll, and then it comes to life and starts killing people.

But because we don’t even get a glimpse of Chucky in the teaser, we just have a vaguely nebulous idea that an ominous toymaker with a slightly dystopian edge has unleashed a serial killer doll onto a confused public, causing society to run amok. It’s actually got a bit of a Gremlins vibe, albeit one with a higher body count and a terrified Aubrey Plaza.

And honestly, that’s great. In this golden age of horror, when’s the last time you went to the theater to see a scary movie and were rewarded with your average middlebrow doofy slasher? In this era of Heredity and Get Out, we’ve pretty much got the range between “arthouse masterpiece” and “smart, thematically sophisticated mainstream horror” covered.

But what about tongue-in-cheek, largely silly horror that doesn’t ask to be taken too seriously? Especially since it’s looking like the next Final Destination movie may never happen, and we’re in dire need of a quality horror film that’s not trying to be too straight-faced about its work. That way lies The Nun and a series of disappointments. So bring on the classic popcorn flick — fun and mostly mindless with a touch of camp.

The new Child’s Play is directed by Norwegian filmmaker Lars Klevberg, whose credits to date encompass just two short films, one of which is the 2015 short Polaroid:

Klevberg turned Polaroid into a feature-length film for Dimension. It was subsequently put on hold due to the collapse of the Weinstein Company, and may be released sometime this year. But there’s plenty we can glean from the original short about what the new Child’s Play might be. Sophisticated? Nah. Overly complex? Why bother? Just take your concept, execute it cleanly, and reap the jump scares.

Of course, you can argue, as many already have, that the new Child’s Play won’t be worth watching because it doesn’t have the blessing of franchise creator Don Mancini, who’s made it clear that he’s not happy about the remake or his lack of involvement in it. But from the limited amount of data we have, we can at least expect something faithful to the spirit of the original. And let’s face it, it’s not like the original Chucky concept had much going for it in terms of uniqueness beyond the doll itself.

Plus, once Child’s Play is out of the way, we can move on to the real payload: Bride of Chucky.