Time: 88 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence and offensive language
Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay
Catherine Hicks as Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon as Detective Mike Norris
Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray/Chucky
Director: Tom Holland
Gunned down by Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), dying murderer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) uses black magic to put his soul inside a doll named Chucky — which Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) then buys for her young son, Andy (Alex Vincent). When Chucky kills Andy’s baby sitter, the boy realizes the doll is alive and tries to warn people, but he’s institutionalized. Now Karen must convince the detective of the murderous doll’s intentions, before Andy becomes Chucky’s next victim.
Although not quite on the level of iconic horror movies like Halloween or The Exorcist, Child’s Play is known as a horror cult classic. With a remake now in cinemas, I decided to revisit my thoughts on the original movie, whether or not I actually decide to watch said remake within the next few weeks. Child’s Play was never a movie I got into when I saw it, not that it’s bad but it’s nothing all that great either. It’s a pretty familiar horror movie that doesn’t produce really any quality scares. It is still watchable though, and Brad Douriff’s Chucky is quite memorable (even if he’s not really that scary).
There’s not a whole lot to say storywise about Child’s Play, so I’ll mostly be talking about the horror aspect. It’s a pretty typical horror/slasher movie with the directions the plot goes, and it doesn’t really do much to subvert. It pretty much is what you’re expecting it to be. With that said, at under an hour and a half, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. While obviously being in scenarios with creepy dolls can be unnerving, I don’t particularly have a phobia of them, but I can tell that this would be a nightmare to those who have them. Even cinematic horror dolls like Annabelle seem to be more scary to me. Maybe it’s just because giving him a human voice made it less scary, especially knowing that in this version of Child’s Play at least, it’s a human inside a doll, who acts very much like a human too (when people aren’t watching of course). All the horror is generated from Chucky himself, and so I never found it scary. Conceptually it all sounds scary, but I don’t find myself feeling that way when I actually watch it.
Brad Douriff is mostly just a voice in this movie, but he does well as Chucky. Even if the movie isn’t all that good, you can see why Chucky still managed to be a bit of a horror icon, and I have a feeling that at least half of it is because of Douriff. I will say that as iconic as Douriff made the character, every time he spoke it made the character less scary, and even a little funny at points. The kid played by Alex Vincent is a typical horror movie kid, not the worst and does the job fine enough, nothing special though. The rest of the cast like Catherine Hicks as the kid’s mother and Chris Sarandon as a detective also perform well enough for what the movie required, but again nothing special. Really no one in the cast is terrible but sort of just does what’s needed and nothing more (aside from Douriff of course).
The direction by Tom Holland (the director, not the actor) was fine. The effects on Chucky to make him work still work today quite well today, even if much of the movie feels dated. The Chucky design holds up well, I’ve seen the remake’s design and it looked a little off to me (and not in a good way), the original’s design is legitimately creepy (until it talks of course). With that said, it is a little silly how freaky of a doll design it’s been given, even before the possession they’re disturbing on their own. Now most horror movies don’t get me very scared but this one never even got a reaction out of me. If anything it was more on the ridiculous and silly side, and I found it very hard to take the movie seriously, and it seemed to be aiming to be more serious.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Child’s Play is terrible, I don’t think I’d even say it’s bad, I just don’t think it’s that good of a movie. It’s quite dated, it’s more likely to produce laughs than actual scares, and you don’t really get much from it by the end. But Chucky himself is pretty good (lack of scares aside) it’s a little entertaining and I didn’t dislike it. It is a sort of horror cult classic, so if you are into horror movies, it’s definitely worth a watch at the very least. I haven’t seen the sequels or the remake yet but I hope I like them a lot more.