Child's Play is a classic slasher film and is iconic for good reason. With an ironic & satiric edge, Child's Play playfully, and creepily, explores the horrific idea of a child murderer & also the abuse of a child by adults through subtext and suggestion and its through the film's banality that this horror takes hold. There's something Freudian, something more than meets the eye here; giving it a staying power.
Its voodoo subplot hasn’t aged particularly well and many have issues with where the series has gone as it’s aged, but what sticks out about the first Child’s Play is what a tight little thriller it is. Chucky has never been this scary since. Would make an excellent double bill with Candyman with its similar depiction of Chicago’s urban decay, use of graffiti, and sidelining of black narratives.
What makes this movie so uniquely entertaining is not just a sustained introduction of one of the major horror icons, but also the grim atmosphere. Winter surroundings of the wrong side of New York creates almost "Blade Runner" alike atmosphere - where a young single mom replaces a private detective. Alex Vincent is adorable and gives one of the most heart felt child performances. A silly movie with heart and soul.
Having only ever caught bits of the original "Child's Play" on cable, I was impressed by how well this film holds up - "Fright Night" director Tom Holland devotes the first half of the film to generating suspense, as poor six year-old Andy is blamed for the crimes of his murderous doll Chucky and slated for the psych ward, before the third act erupts into an almost "Terminator"-esque battle with the killer toy.
When I was a kid Child's Play was undoubtedly my favorite series of "scary" movies. However, upon a recent re-watch/catch-up marathon of the full 'Chucky septology' I came to the (slightly soul-crushing) conclusion that nostalgia is a scheming weasel of a temptress... For real though, the first one isn't bad at all. It's a perfectly competent horror movie with a lot of goof and charm, really quite enjoyable.
It takes true talent to make something watchable out of this ridiculous story of a killer doll, but Brad Dourif's voice and the Chucky Doll is a fantastic mix together that creates movie magic. The human characters are less magical, but this has to be one of the few killer doll movies out there that at least makes some sense and works on the screen.
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.