Sinful Screenings: Chucky Made a New “Friend to the End” in the Syfy/USA Series Premiere

It’s probably been over a decade since I’ve seen any of the Child’s Play movies. I’ve seen five out of eight of them. It’s kind of hard to describe the films, they almost seem like kids’ movies, but they are horror movies. Recently, horror content with kids has come out again. Stranger Things and IT are prime examples of horror, with middle schoolers being at the center. The Netflix series and the remake of one of Stephen Kings’ classics were so popular that more studios wanted to follow suit. Plus, you know reboots and IP sell. 

Chucky is the latest reboot. It centers around the Good Guy doll, Chucky, and a middle schooler named Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur). The boy picks up the doll at a yard sale, saying he likes retro things. Chucky is undoubtedly that. We soon find out that Jake has a thing for dolls. He uses them for his art, which is a bit creepy. But he’s 14 and finding his place in this world. 

The pilot episode was a bit slow but followed a little bit of the story from the original Child’s Play movie. The first death is caused by an accident that Chucky commits. The show also introduces the serial killer Charles Lee Ray. A classmate of Jake had an entire podcast that talks about Charles’ murders and the most recent ones that have hit Hackensack. We can only assume that Chucky was behind those, but we do not have confirmation on that. But it is confirmed (a minor spoiler here) by the end of the episode that Charles is in Chucky. The show has yet to delve into how the serial killer got into the doll. In the original movie, Charles used black magic to get into the Good Guys doll.

Jake appears to be the perfect target for Chucky to use to help him on his next killing spree. The 14-year-old is an outsider, though he kind of doesn’t mind being one. His father keeps telling him he’s weird and should have friends and not do art. His father flips out at the mention that Jake could be gay. 

While the first episode didn’t hook me, I see a lot of great themes in the promo for the rest of the season. Jake is a boy trying to figure out who he is, so he’s easily manipulated. Bullying was brought up in the first episode and looks like it will be a theme throughout. Chucky was just trying to get revenge for Jake when “the accident” happened. If the series talks about bullying and figuring out who you are, well, it could be great. It will also be walking a fine line with the horror mixed into those elements. But remember, this is not a kid’s show, even if many main characters are teenagers—young ones at that. Tone down the violence, and it really could be meant for younger viewers. 

There are some familiar faces in the pilot as well. For all of you 90s kids, you’ll be excited to see Devon Sawa make an appearance. For you One Tree Hill fans, Barbara Alyn Woods is the mayor of Hackensack. Her daughter also plays one of Jake’s classmates, who is clearly the school’s mean girl. Brad Dourif (pictured below) is also back to play the voice of Chucky, and Don Mancini, the creator of the Child’s Play franchise, is back for the TV adaptation.

There were definitely elements of the movies that you saw in the first episode. Chucky wasn’t on the screen five minutes before getting his hands on a large knife. I spent the rest of the episode wondering where he hid it and waiting for him to pull it out. 

If you’re into the Child’s Play movies, it’s worth checking out. It probably won’t be the break-out hits like Stranger Things or the IT remake were, but we got to have some sort of horror show to watch while we wait for the Netflix show to come back, right?

Check out Chucky Tuesday nights at 10 pm EST on SyFy and USA.

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