With “Imaginary,” the murderous doll Chucky is set to be succeeded, and the first trailer for the horror film by Blumhouse shows that this teddy bear is much creepier.
Toys have an image as innocent as the children who are supposed to play with them. In the eyes of adults, they can appear as sexist as Barbie or as martial as action figures of brands like He-Man or Action-Man. In the small hands of children with their eyes shining with joy, they become the key to a fantasy world where stories unfold that even the most creative minds could not imagine.
But what if these worlds that open up, these figures that inhabit the toys from a child’s perspective, are not just imagination and certainly not born of childish fantasy? What if, in reality, they are the most dangerous thing in the whole house, indeed, in the entire neighborhood, and they possess a power that goes far beyond the imaginable? This idea has been explored in several horror films, some of which have achieved cult status, such as “Chucky – The Killer Doll,” “Annabelle,” Roland Emmerich’s “Joey,” and most recently, “M3GAN,” to name a few. There’s even a family-friendly version with the entertaining “Small Soldiers” from “Gremlins” director Joe Dante, which you can stream on Amazon.
Now, the horror forge Blumhouse Productions is set to add another toy to this list – a teddy bear. However, typically for the genre, it seems that this teddy bear is merely the vessel for an entity reaching out for innocent souls.
Perhaps it’s the eerie variation of The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination,” or perhaps it’s the dark atmosphere, but the trailer for “Imaginary” doesn’t miss its mark: This could, for a change, be a horror film that scares not only through audiovisually forced moments of terror and bloody images but through an eerie mood that goes to the core.
“Imaginary”: From horror expert Jason Blum and the director of “Kick-Ass 2” Jessica moves back to her hometown with her family into her parents’ house. Some things from her childhood are still in the basement, including the teddy bear Chauncey, discovered by her stepdaughter Alice. At first, the young mother thinks nothing of it, but as Alice behaves increasingly strangely, her family realizes that this teddy bear is anything but harmless.
It’s quite remarkable: While Hollywood mainstream indulges in endless sequels and spin-offs of successful franchises, the horror genre manages to produce completely original works time and again. One who particularly excels at this craft is Blumhouse founder and producer Jason Blum, who has already celebrated successes this year with “M3GAN,” “Insidious: The Red Door,” “Totally Killer – Dangerous Game with Time,” and most recently with “Five Nights at Freddy’s.”
With “Imaginary,” he and director Jeff Wadlow (“Kick-Ass 2,” “Truth or Dare”) combine the theme of possessed objects with imaginary acquaintances. Wadlow co-wrote the screenplay with Greg Erb (“Senseless”), Jason Oremland (“Monster High: The Movie”), and Bryce McGuire (“Night Swim”).
Acting in front of the camera are DeWanda Wise (“Jurassic World – A New Age”), Tom Payne (“The Walking Dead”), Betty Buckley (“Split”), Pyper Braun (“Desperation Road”), and Taegen Burns (“I Can Only Imagine – The Song of My Life”). “Imaginary” will be released in the United States on March 8, 2024. The release date for other regions is not yet known.