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Child’s Play of 1988 was originally banned in Finland for extreme graphic violence.
That didn’t stop a teenager from mail-ordering it on a VHS tape from another European country. Of course, not a dubbed one from Germany or Russia. (For some reason the Netherlands was a popular choice.)
The tape was distributed among friends to have someone to share the nightmares with.
The knife-wielding doll, Chucky (voice Charles Lee Ray), became a cult horror classic, whether the Finnish Board of Film Classification liked it or not.
In today’s Finland, an 18-year-old can sink into the comfort of the soft cinema chair and enjoy the adventures of brand new Chucky, who this time has the voice of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
The remake is actually better than the original.
Like many Finns, Seth Grahame-Smith, one of the producers of the film (It (2017)), was 12 years old when the original was released. He was also terrified by it. “I’ve been a fan ever since,” he said in the production notes.
30 years later Graham-Smith wanted to make a better one, and by implementing the modern home entertainment devices as killing tools—where everything from your mobiles to TVs and sound systems are connected—Chucky takes over the big screen as more advanced than ever.
“He can use anything at his disposal to terrorize and kill you,” said Grahame-Smith.
The script is smart, if not genius, and it turns out that the screenwriter, Tyler Burton Smith, lived in Finland for several years writing stories for games for a Finnish game company called Remedy Entertainment.
Perhaps the darkness and cold inspired him when writing Chucky 2.0?
The new adaptation is helmed by Lars Klevberg (The Wall, Polaroid), a Norwegian-born director, known for his attention to detail and Viking spirit.
His touch is straightforward and brutal. The camera doesn’t shy away from slash and gore. Some of the surprise scares work well, and there’s plenty of twisted humor to go along with it all.
The haunting score is composed by Bear McCreary (Happy Death Day), and Gabriel Bateman as Andy, the boy who is “befriended” by Chucky, gives a strong performance. Aubrey Plaza as his mother Karen is solid.
Oh, and Mark Hamill’s voice?
Dare to watch?
‘Child’s Play’ premieres in cinemas July 19.