This is a fun little 80s horror film with a cool premise. This is by no means a masterpiece, but it is entertaining enough to hold your attention for 87 minutes. Chucky doesn't make it onto the Mount Rushmore of horror legends like Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers, but he is at least a honorable mention. Child's Play is not great, but it certainly isn't bad either.
It's always difficult when a film has to rely heavily on the performance of young child and unfortunately Alex Vincent can't help but frustrate with his wooden delivery here. Despite this, Catherine Hicks is fantastically convincing as the mother and Brad Dourif's voice is perfectly sinister for the character of Chucky. It's serviceable horror and will unsettle viewers, but Child's Play is only mildly entertaining.
The first Child's Play is much scarier than it's often credited for, at least, in the first half. As that half builds its psychological angle quite well-- as to whether Chucky is alive or not-- and it's properly suspenseful and developed. When the film switches into straight-forward slasher mode is when it loses its footing, unsure whether to play it serious or straight at the expense of its wise-cracking villain.
For some reason I've always thought this to be extremely gory and dark horror, but perhaps my imagination had gotten the best of me. At times the story felt more like a supernatural detective story with a funny and ugly doll (would someone actually buy that?). At least the premise is handled well, but overall a pretty underwhelming flick whose cult status I'm still pondering.
Saw this along with Poltergeist one late evening on German TV (dubbed in German) when I was a kid, staying at my grandparents place. It scared me stiff and I remember I slept very little that night. Seeing it again many years later, it is fun to notice just what scenes stood out in my mind for all this time. Not up there with Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street in terms of fun, but still has it's moments.