Child’s Play threequel opened a mere nine months after the second installment and is the last Child’s Play movie involving Chucky’s pursuit of Andy Barclay. Flick takes place eight years after part 2, with Andy (Justin Whalin) now being sixteen and sent to military school. The Play Pals Company has decided to restart production of the Good Guys doll line and uses the plastic from the unfinished models still left in the warehouse where the Child’s Play 2had it’s finale. Of course the bloody melted hunk of plastic that was Chucky is included and soon Chucky is back once again in action. He tracks Andy to the military academy, but soon sets his sights on shy eight year-old Ronald Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers) as his new host. It’s up to Andy and his new romantic interest Cadet Kristin De Silva (Perrey Reeves) to stop him.
Third flick is directed by Jack Bender from a script by Don Mancini and wisely is the last film in the Andy Barclay story arc, as this installment shows it was running out of gas. It’s the same old shenanigans with a wisecracking Chucky killing anyone who gets in his way or pisses him off. The kills are getting routine and only the carnival funhouse set climax shows a little life. It’s not very scary or suspenseful, but is competently made and Dourif is as fun as ever as the serial killer in a doll’s body. It’s bloody and the military academy setting adds a few wrinkles, but otherwise the series was showing signs of needing some sort of rebooting if it was to continue. One does miss little Alex Vincent, but at least they tried to keep it from getting too stale by upgrading Andy to a teenager and even giving him a love interest with the pretty and spunky Kristin. When he is not trying to save Ronald and convince everyone Chucky is back, he is getting bullied by academy a-hole, Cadet Lt. Col. Brett C. Shelton (Travis Fine). The Chucky and gore FX are still very well done and still help maintain the illusion that the doll is possessed and and alive. It’s a functional enough sequel and has it’s moments, but one understands why the series was given a break and and a new direction after this flick performed only moderately at the box office.
The cast is again fine. Justin Whalin is good as Andy. He evokes the character, but appropriately eight years older. He is a solid hero as being a teen helps him go on the offensive for the first time. Brad Dourif is still excellent in his vocal performance as Chucky. He is still as twisted and malevolent as ever, and getting the best dialogue in the movie…as he should. Jeremy Sylvers is likable and sympathetic as the shy, young Ronald and he makes a good target for Chucky’s plans to resurrect himself out of his plastic shell. Perrey Reeves is energetic and resilient as the tough, but cute Cadet Kristin De Silva. She makes a nice love interest for the now grown Andy Barclay. Travis Fine is a dislikable villain as the academy douche Lt. Col. Shelton and movie vet Andrew Robinson shows up as the twisted academy barber Sgt. Botnick.
In conclusion, Child’s Play 3 is an OK third installment, but shows a series in need of a fresh coat of paint. Andy is now a teen and that and the military academy location add a little something new, but not enough to really makes this an equal to either of it’s predecessors. Chucky creator Don Mancini realized it was time for a change and after a seven year hiatus, Chucky would return with a new story direction, new tone and a love interest of his own in 1998.
Child’s Play sequel takes place two years after the first installment with poor Andy (Alex Vincent) now living with foster parents (Jenny Agutter and Gerrit Graham), as his mother is institutionalized for corroborating her son’s story about a killer doll. As for Chucky, the Play Pals Corporation has regained possession of the remains of the Chucky possessed Good Guys doll and uses the inner mechanisms to build a new doll, in order to prove to investors, product malfunction was not a factor in the incident. Once reconstructed, Chucky resumes his hunt for Andy, to once again try to take possession of him. Obviously, the killer doll leaves a trail of bodies in his wake.
Second installment in the popular franchise is this time directed by John Lafia from a script by Don Mancini. It’s not quite an equal, but is an efficient enough sequel. Chucky is up to his old tricks and the kills are played a little bit more for laughs this time, though some are still potent and bloody. Chucky isn’t quite as scary as he was the first time around, as the novelty has worn off, but still can be threatening and his pursuit of Andy, who is again not believed, still is effective. The FX portraying the killer doll are very convincing prosthetics and the slightly larger budget gives the flick a chance to open up a bit with an impressive and fun last act chase and showdown at the Play Pals factory, echoing the climax of The Terminator. There is some suspense and a few chills, though one can see the franchise is trying to have a bit more fun here with a more wisecracking villain.
The cast is fine. Alex Vincent is still very likable and sympathetic as the little boy being pursued by a serial killer in a doll’s body. Brad Dourif is once again excellent in his vocal performance as Chucky. He is twisted, intimidating and gives so much life to a plastic prosthetic, while milking his dialogue for all it’s worth. Agutter and Graham are serviceable as Andy’s foster parents Joanne and Phil Simpson. They are not as endearing as Catherine Hicks’ spunky single mom Karen, but they are likable enough, especially Agutter, who is far more sympathetic to Andy’s traumatic past. Rounding out is Christine Elise as Andy’s tough, street-smart foster sister Kyle, who joins him in the fight against Chucky, and Grace (Galaxy of Terror) Zabriske as the kindly head of the boarding house Andy has been staying at before being adopted by the Simpsons.
Overall, Child’s Play 2 is a fun second installment. Chucky is still a fairly effective villain and there are some suspenseful sequences, some effective kills and a few chills. It’s not quite an equal to the classic original, but at least still played the franchise somewhat seriously before future installments got a lot goofier.
Wildling finds a little girl named Anna (Aviva Winick) being held in a single room by a man she knows only as “Daddy” (Brad Dourif). He cares for her and tells her tales of a creature called a “Wildling” that will come for here if she steps outside. When Anna grows into a young woman (Bel Powley from Diary of a Teenage Girl) the man becomes fearful and his suicide attempt brings the police. Rescued, Anna is put in the custody of Sheriff Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler) till they can find her real parents. The longer she stays with Ellen and her brother Ray (Collin Kelly-Sordelet), though, the more Anna starts to change. When a young boy’s body is found mutilated in the woods, it starts to appear that Anna is something far more than simply a victim of imprisonment…and there may be far more truth to the fables of The Wildling.
This is certainly not the first time that lycanthropy has been used as a euphemism for a young woman coming of age. It is, however, a far different film than the cult classic Ginger Snaps, as directed by Fritz Böhm from his script with Florian Eder. While Ginger Snaps was more about budding sexuality, here there is a large focus on the fear in men of a woman’s empowerment, as the last act centers on a group of hunters trying to track Anna down and destroy her. We also get some disrespect from some of these men towards Tyler’s female sheriff, as she tries to find Anna and figure things out. Unfortunately, it is also in the last third where the film loses a bit of it’s grip, as Anna becomes more beast-like and it turns into torch light villagers hunting the monster, when the first two thirds were about a girl trying to find her place in the world, while dealing with some kind of metaphorical transformation. That was more emotionally interesting, as we like Anna and sympathize with her trying to fit in after years in a cell. Still Böhm tells his tale in his own style and he accomplishes some atmosphere and does make some really good use of the New York State locations, including some in downtown Piermont, NY, which I personally have frequented often. The film is visually satisfying and there are some gruesome sequences to remind you there is a horror flick under all the thinly veiled metaphors.
The small cast is very good, especially Powley as Anna. She creates a young woman both frightened and fascinated by the new world she is thrust into and then having to deal with a terrifying transformation into something she was taught is very dangerous. Her petite stature and youthful features allow her to successfully portray a woman ten years younger, as she did in the sexually themed Diary of a Teenage Girl. Liv Tyler is solid as the caring Sheriff. She becomes attached to Anna and it becomes hard for her when she starts to believe the girl might be dangerous. Dourif is good, as always, as “Daddy” a man who may have actually been locking the little girl up for her own good. Rounding out is a good performance by Collin Kelly-Sordelet as Ellen’s brother Ray, who also cares for Anna and James LeGros as a hermit who lives in the woods and may know more about Anna than she does herself.
In conclusion this is not an original idea, it could be oversimplified into Room meets Ginger Snaps, but is well done enough to walk to the beat of it’s own drum. Director/co-writer Fritz Böhm creates an atmospheric allegory of a young woman coming of age and thus becoming dangerous to those who fear her empowerment. The first two-thirds are involving and it’s only in the last act, when it becomes more of a monster hunt that it loses it’s grip somewhat, thought it’s point is still made. A good cast, especially our lead, also helps tell the story well. Worth watching, though one might end up wanting to like it a bit more than one actually does. Not bad for a first full length film, Böhm could be someone to keep an eye on.
It’s been four years since horror icon Chucky’s triumphant return to form in Curse Of Chucky. Now he returns again, this time roaming the halls of a medium security institute for the mentally ill. This installment finds Nica (Fiona Dourif) declared mentally insane after taking blame for the murders Chucky committed in the Pierce house and she’s been institutionalized since. Meanwhile, Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) has been keeping and tormenting Chucky’s possessed head and Nica’s doctor (Michael Therriault) decides to bring in a Good Guys Doll as part of her therapy. It also seems, though, that Chucky has been busy learning new spells and can inhabit more than one doll…and as more Good Guy Dolls show up at the institute, via Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) and Andy, all hell breaks loose with Nica at the center of it. With more than one Chucky stalking the halls and Andy and Tiffany on premises, the inmates will soon be running the asylum!
Don Mancini returns again to write and direct and again delivers one of the best of the series. Cult of Chucky is an absolute blast of bloody fun as the demented Chucky starts to off the inmates and staff of the Harrogate institute, all the while tormenting Nica. The gore is plentiful and the kills inventive and Mancini takes full advantage of the sterile environment of the institute in contrast to the old haunted house style setting of the last flick. He giddily splashes the clean white walls with bright red blood and really has come into his own as a visual director with some Kubrick-esque shots and hallucination sequences. He balances the mood very well here with playing things fairly straight, yet keeping and honing the series’ twisted sense of humor, especially in portraying Chucky’s enthusiasm for what he does. He also gets to have some fun with the fact that Chucky can inhabit more than one doll at once and there are at least three roaming the dimly lit halls at one point. Chucky also gets to delight in the fact that only Nica knows he’s real and the rest of the inhabitants are in dangerous denial. It’s simply a really fun, stylish and gory time with one of horrors most famous icons in top form, thanks to Mancini’s clever script and direction. Sure there area few plot holes, such as how did Chucky research new spells if he was only a disembodied head in Andy’s possession, but otherwise this is a solid entry in the Child’s Play franchise.
The cast are all in top form, too. Brad Dourif once again performs Chucky’s vocals with gusto and at this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing it. Daughter Fiona Dourif is also solid as Nica. She takes the material seriously and plays the role with conviction, until the last act where the script allows her to go a little over-the-top and she has fun with what she’s required to do. Alex Vincent certainly is having a good time as the adult Andy and Jennifer Tilly is a delight as the demented Tiffany, playing it as if there was never a long break in-between films. The rest of the cast do well in portraying various inmates and staff, many of whom fall to Chucky’s homicidal antics.
This installment was really entertaining. Don Mancini has found a way to revive this series with two recent quality installments that further the adventures of Chucky and yet delightfully pay tribute to the earlier chapters in the franchise. Where most horror series slowly fizzle out as they go along, Don Mancini has found a way to keep this one fresh, inventive and lots of bloody fun. Sure there are a few plot holes, but you are willing to overlook them because you’re having such a gory good time.
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This review is for the original theatrical cut.
Third film in this series is written and directed by original film/book writer William Peter Blatty after being passed on by both The Exorcist director William Friedkin and then John Carpenter. This film is based on Blatty’s book Legion and follows Detective William Kinderman (George C. Scott) who is investigating a series of murders he reluctantly starts to believe are being committed by a serial killer who has been dead for seventeen years. The trail, however leads to Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a good friend of Lt. Kinderman who himself died while performing an exorcism around the same time the Gemini Killer (Brad Dourif) met his demise. As Kinderman delves deeper in this mystery, his beliefs are shaken as he may indeed be facing a sinister force with a horrifying agenda.
Blatty’s only other directorial effort is the bizarre 1980 The Ninth Configuration and his minimal experience does show at times with some of the pacing and scene staging being a bit off at points during the film. He also does manage, though, some very spooky and disturbing sequences, especially during the film’s creepy second half. It’s a vast improvement over John Boorman’s 1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic, which is generally regarded as an epic fail and the idea of a demon using a serial killer’s soul to exact revenge on the priest who once evicted it, is chillingly original. Blatty’s initial exorcism-less cut was met with poor test screenings forcing the studio to ask him to add an exorcism to the proceedings and the sequence’s exorcist Father Morning (Nicol Williamson) was also added to the film. After a bit of a slow build, Blatty’s thriller starts to really click in the second half and we get the spooky and sometimes outright disturbing flick we came to see, whether it was the studio mandated changes or not.
What really makes this work, too, is George C. Scott’s giving his all in a portrayal of a policeman finding out that there are indeed things that go bump in the night and the closer he gets to the truth, the more bump they go and the more bodies fall. A veteran actor, Scott always treated every film with the same respect and the Oscar nominated actor…he actually won for Patton, but refused the award…plays the material straight and with intensity. Brad Dourif is absolutely chilling as the Gemini Killer, whose spirit taunts Kinderman while inhabiting Father Karras’ body and as Karras, a returning Jason Miller gives us a tortured soul forced to co-inhabit a body with a man who is everything the priest stands against. Nicol Williamson is also good in his post-production added role as exorcist Father Morning and the rest of the supporting cast, including odd cameos from Fabio and Patrick Ewing as angels, also add solid support.
The Exorcist is a horror masterpiece and making one sequel was a risk that backfired badly. Blatty originally wanted this third film titled Legion, much like the book it’s based on and there was no exorcism in the original cut. The studio demanded it be more directly linked to the classic film by titling it The Exorcist III and then after audiences didn’t get what they came for, had the filmmaker/writer add one to the story. It still works despite studio tinkering and a director who was a bit of a novice taking the reigns. It’s not perfect, but is still, at times, a spooky and chilling film with some top notch performances.
With the Holidays here what better way to show some cheer then by featuring a couple of Rob Zombie movies…and holiday themed Rob Zombie movies at that…OK, the holiday is Halloween, but since it’s Halloween all year round at MonsterZero NJ’s, these flicks are appropriate…in my twisted little mind anyway! I know Zombie’s Halloween features have caused a lot of controversy and evoked some strong feelings both pro and con, but that’s far better in my mind than indifference. So, what did I think of them? Read on…
Both reviews are of the director’s cuts…
ROB ZOMBIE’S HALLOWEEN (2007)
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There are things I like about Rob Zombie’s remake and things I don’t. As far as the things I didn’t like, Zombie’s biggest mistake is de-mystifying Michael Myers. Carpenter’s original had an average little boy from an average family, savagely murdering his older sister for no apparent reason on Halloween night. Zombie makes him the product of a broken white trash home with a stripper mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) who has a taste for loser boyfriends (William Forsythe). Giving Myers a reason for his violent behavior takes away the mystique the character had. Zombie’s Myers is a damaged young boy (Daeg Faerch) who tortures small animals and graduates to killing people and is sent to an asylum where he silently grows into a homicidal man (Tyler Mane). Carpenter’s Myers was pure evil, the young boy stopped existing and grew into a vessel for an unexplained evil force and it was random and thus spookier. The original Myers became a supernatural being, where Zombie’s Myers is all too human. Another mistake is spending almost an hour examining Myers youth and incarceration at the mental hospital before he is set loose to return home to find his little sister, now a teenager with the adopted name of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton). Carpenter got things rolling within a few minutes in the original and his flick focuses on the stalking of Laurie and gets the scares started early. And Laurie Strode is a random victim in Carpenter’s flick, the convention that she was related to Michael wasn’t added till the original’s sequel Halloween II. Finally, the casting of genre legend Malcolm McDowell, as Dr. Loomis, doesn’t work for me. I love McDowell, but his portrayal is a bit off. He didn’t quite seem to fit the role. He also botches a couple of the classic lines, and these lines are important to the mythos. Patrick Stewart would have made a far better Loomis, not that he would have done such a film.
On the plus side, Zombie does have a nice visual style and things do get intense once he finally let’s Myers loose on the peaceful town of Haddonfield. Zombie’s Myers has a savageness that the original Myers lost after being dragged through numerous sequels, and the havoc he raises is some of the best action the character has seen since the original. Tyler Mane does make an imposing Myers and his Myers is filled with rage whereas Carpenter’s Myers was more methodical. Aside from my feelings on the casting of McDowell, the rest of the cast are fine. Sheri Moon Zombie shows some nice depth as a mother helplessly watching her son become a monster. She generates some real pain in her eyes, and it makes her very sympathetic. Scout-Compton is a spunky and cute heroine and plays Laurie as a typical modern teenager, but also gives her part the needed intensity when HE comes home, and she’s forced to save her babysitting charges and fight for her life. Zombie also peppers the film with familiar faces. We get Halloween sequel veteran Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 & 5) returning to the series now fully grown to play Annie Brackett and she plays a typical feisty teen girl with boys on the brain and genre vet Brad Dourif is cast as her father, Sheriff Brackett who is conflicted as to whether to believe Loomis’ warnings or not. We get cameos by the likes of Dee Wallace as Laurie’s mother, Ken Foree as Joe Grizzly, a trucker who unfortunately provides Myers with his trademark coveralls, Sid Haig as a cemetary caretaker, Danny Trejo as a hospital orderly who takes pity on Michael and Richard Lynch as Michael’s school principal. There is also a nice re-imagining of Carpenter’s score by Tyler Bates which adds some spooky atmosphere especially in the second half when Myers is finally unleashed, and Phil Parmet’s cinematography captures Zombie’s visuals very well.
The scenes in Haddonfield are really what worked for me as they should have. Zombie shows he can produce some suspense and scares and he cranks it up here. Too bad he chose to focus a good deal of the running time on Michael’s youth and incarceration which is less interesting as we know where it all leads, as this is a remake after all. As for the climax, without giving away any details, Zombie chooses to end his remake with a blunt shock ending where John Carpenter crafted an opening ending that left us with a feeling of dread even after the film was long over. It’s not a bad ending and does have resonance but doesn’t have the bone chilling effect of the original.
I stand by my opinion that Zombie has a great horror film in him but, he needs to concentrate on using his distinct visuals more often and moving past his fascination with the 70’s grind house style filmmaking and the white trash characters that inhabited a lot of those films. There is nothing wrong with paying homage to your influences, but Zombie has covered that ground in his first three films now and I think he is capable of his own style.
The lowdown: better than pretty much all of the sequels after Halloween III (which, as you may know, I like a lot!), but a far cry from John Carpenter’s original masterpiece. I at least give Zombie the credit for trying to do his own thing instead of a stale shot for shot remake.
WARNING: If you haven’t seen Zombie’s Halloween remake, there are some points of discussion in the sequel review which may contain spoilers for the first film…
This is the film of the two Zombie Halloweens that gets the most flak, but to be all honest, I’ve come to like this one because it’s more of a Rob Zombie film featuring Carpenter’s characters. He’s free from the confines of a remake and doing his own thing. The results can be mixed, but it is still better than any of the post Halloween III sequels. This film takes place immediately after the last with Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) in the hospital being frantically worked on and Myers being hauled off to the morgue. But when an accident wrecks the morgue transport, the resilient Michael Myers rises from his slab and walks off after murdering the surviving van occupant. He disappears and the story picks up two years later with a traumatized Laurie living with Annie and her father (Brad Dourif) while Laurie is trying to deal with the approach of Halloween and the fact that Myers’ body was never found. Of course, it’s no secret to the audience that Michael is on his way back to Haddonfield to finish what he started and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.
The fact that this sequel never really feels like a “Halloween” film works both for and against it. It’s more of a Rob Zombie film and here he is not afraid to take Myers’ mask off or get inside his head for some beautifully visualized hallucination sequences of Michael’s dead mother (Sheri Moon Zombie). Tyler Bates also forgoes the traditional Halloween music for the most part and his score is quite good despite not imbuing the Halloween sound and flavor like all the other movies. Zombie gives his sequel a more methodical pace and while the film never really gets scary, there are some real brutal and intense moments such as Myers’ reuniting with Annie. There are some savagely violent scenes here that are very effective, but by the end of the film, you do feel a bit bludgeoned with all the brutality. McDowell returns as Loomis who is now a pompous bestselling author writing books about Myers and profiting from the horrible experience that left many dead. I didn’t like Dr. Loomis being portrayed as an egotistical asshole. Just didn’t work. The character was always representative of the good fighting the evil and now he is a douche who is willing to sell everyone out to make a buck and himself famous. It also makes his last minute change of heart near the climax hard to swallow. Ironically since McDowell is freed of the confines of the tradition portrayal of the Loomis character, I accepted him better in this incarnation of the role despite not liking the direction the character is taken.
There is a lot of other things to like here, too, though, unless you are a Halloween traditionalist and just can’t forgive Zombie for taking his own direction with things. There are some really twisted and bizarre dream sequences that have beautiful and surreal visuals that really impressed me and cinematographer Brandon Trost captures them well as with the look of the rest of the film. Much like the final act of Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, it is when Zombie takes his camera into these surreal sequences that his films really come to life and sadly, he doesn’t do it often enough, thought I really liked what he did here and how these sequences got into both Myers’ and Laurie’s heads. I liked the sequences of Myers hallucinating that he sees his dead mother and his younger self (Chase Wright Vanek here as Faerch had outgrown the part), egging him on to kill. And the same for Laurie Strode’s nightmares. Great stuff. And I really liked the WTF ending. He really went outside the comfort zone of this series and in terms of traditional Halloween lore and it was daring. The Kubrick-esque final shot gives the appropriate chills the remake’s end lacked.
He gets some really good performances out of his cast again. Compton is good, but I do prefer her as the sweeter Laurie then the foul mouth tattooed traumatized girl here…though the progression is understandable and she does come across as a very messed up teen, mixing psychological damage with teen angst. Danielle Harris shows that she has grown into a really good actress as Annie, who was far more seriously hurt by Michael and yet is handling it a lot better than Laurie. She’s both friend and mother to Strode while soldiering on with her own life. A strong young woman and it makes her confrontation with Myers all the more powerful. And last, but not least, genre favorite Brad Dourif gives what might be the performance of his long career. Yes, he is that good and thankfully Zombie gives him a lot of good material and scenes to show it in. I loved him in this. Again, we also get some cameos by genre vets and Zombie favorites like Margot Kidder as Laurie’s psychiatrist, Howard Hessman as Laurie’s record store/cafe owner boss and Daniel Roebuck as a delightfully sleazy strip club owner.
While it’s not a great movie, I do like it for what it is, and the risks Zombie took here with characters that are quite endeared to horror fans. Ironically, Zombie has been criticized and chastised for taking these risks, while equally so for not taking enough risks in the previous film. Sometimes you just can’t please fans when it comes to poking around an established classic. I hope someday Rob Zombie makes an original film that finally lives up to the potential he constantly shows. This film showed a progression from Halloween, and I think we are seeing him move away from grind house and more toward Zombie. While many horror fans would disagree, I like this flick and recommend it as long as you have an open mind as to how classic characters are utilized and aren’t offended because someone took an established franchise and thought outside the box with it.
It’s been almost ten years since we last saw Chucky, the homicidal doll possessed by the spirit of deceased serial killer Charles Lee Ray, but Curse Of Chucky brings him back in all his blood spattering glory…and turns out to be one of the best entries in the series.
The story takes place in an old house owned and lived in by Sarah Pierce (Chantal Quesnel) and her wheelchair-ridden young daughter, Nica (Fiona Dourif). When they receive a strange package that contains an old Good Guys doll named Chucky (once again voice by Brad Dourif), things obviously start to go wrong in the Pierce home. To start, Nica wakes up to find her mother dead, an apparent suicide…or so we are led to believe. Her sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) arrives to console her along with her husband Ian (Brennan Elliott), daughter Alice (Summer Howell) and nanny Jill (Maitland McConnell). Soon a night of family drama turns into a night of blood curdling terror as Chucky begins to slaughter the unsuspecting occupants one by one.
Directed and written by series writer and Seed Of Chucky helmer Don Mancini, Curse returns Chucky to his more menacing roots and for the most part jettison’s the goofy humor that permeated the last two installments. What we get is a nice and atmospheric haunted house slasher, that has some real nice tension and suspense along with a few effective and gruesome kills. The added element of Nica being confined to a wheelchair is used to maximum effect by director Mancini and there are some really intense sequences, especially when Nica comes to realize who and what Chucky is and she becomes his next target. There are some really nice surprises, too, especially when the film links to the previous chapters and we get some fun nods to past Chucky flicks that I won’t spoil here. The FX bringing the killer doll to life are some of the best in the series and the gore effects are well done and there is plenty of the red stuff spilled.
The film isn’t perfect. There are some flaws, mostly the film looses momentum somewhat during its final scenes which are fun, but in an effort to explain Chucky’s arrival in the Pierce house and why he is there, we are treated to flashbacks and scenes that interrupt the tension and take us out of the confinement of the spooky old house, which to this point added a lot of atmosphere and the isolation inside it added some tension. The scenes are fun as said, but don’t carry the same intensity of what preceded it. The film kind of ends on a much lighter note, more akin to the last two movies, while the earlier scenes of the film match the original’s more serious tone.
Flaws aside, this is a solid and entertaining horror flick that deserved better than being dumped direct to home media. It’s a welcome return of a modern horror icon and a nice addition to his movie legacy. Watch through the credits for a fun post credits scene that should delight and amuse fans of this long running series.
Child’s Play is a fun 80s horror thriller that proves that a talented director can turn even a silly premise like this into an entertaining movie. The film opens with psychotic killer Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) being hunted and shot by police. The mortally wounded maniac finds temporary solace in a toy store long enough to use his skills in Voodoo to transfer his soul into a Good Guys doll before his body expires. Enter widowed mom Karen (Catherine Hicks) and her 6 year old son Andy (Alex Vincent) who is a huge Good Guys fan and wants nothing more then an expensive talking Good Guys doll for his birthday. But when gal pal Maggie (Dinah Manoff) finds a street peddler selling one, she alerts Catherine who buys one for Andy. The doll announces itself as Chucky and no sooner is the doll in the apartment when bad things start to happen like babysitting Maggie taking a dive out of the apartment window. When Andy is found at the scene of another death, that of a former associate of Charles Lee Ray, the police begin to expect something is wrong with Andy, but the boy insists it was Chucky’s doing and his mom starts to investigate the doll’s origins, refusing to believe her son is a killer. But the more she investigates the more she starts to believe the impossible, that the soul of a killer inhabits the doll and she, her son and anyone that crossed Ray are in mortal danger… but who will believe her? Worse still is that Ray must transfer his soul into Andy’s body as his doll body becomes more human and thus vulnerable as time goes by.
Directed and co-written by Tom Holland, who also gave us the 80s classic vampire flick Fright Night, Child’s Play is a fun thriller despite it’s silly premise and the fact that the killer is a 3 foot tall doll with the voice of Brad Dourif. Holland and his cast, including Fright Night‘s Chris Sarandon as Det. Mike Norris, take the proceedings seriously and not making a joke out of it helps us to go along with it to enough of a degree that it entertains us. As a child with a pretty demanding role, Alex Vincent is quite good as Andy, which also goes a long way in making this flick work. Holland crafts some suspense which is an achievement since our villain is a plastic doll in overalls. He imbues Chucky with a lethality that, along with Dourif’s vocals, which give him quite the personality and some excellent FX to bring him to life, also help make this work far better then it should. The film moves very quickly which gives us little time to question plot holes or the sheer audacity of what we are watching. Once the film is over, you’ve had a good enough time to not really care that you just spent 90 minutes watching a homicidal maniac possessed doll killing people.
The film’s not perfect, the story moves a little too quick for it’s own good and it basically get’s it’s principles believing there is a killer doll on the loose far too early and easily when it was far more intriguing to have Chucky let Andy take the blame and having his mother deal with the possibility her son is a killer. The Terminator-like finale is borderline ridiculous, but somehow works and works well. But by the time the credits roll, you’ve let Holland and Co. convince you to take this nonsense seriously enough to enjoy yourself, so you can forgive the film some of it’s flaws and enjoy the fact that you’ve spent the last 90 minutes in fear of a kid’s toy.
Fun flick that created a horror icon and inspired a franchise that got more twisted and outrageous as the series when on… and mostly in a good way.