The concept of a killer doll is a risky endeavor for any filmmaker. The image of Raggedy Ann wielding a butcher knife is easy to laugh at. What works best about Child's Play is that director Tom Holland accepts that the audience is going to laugh, provides over-the-top scenes that encourage the audience to giggle, and then offers some genuine chills. Like he did with vampire films in his first movie, the underrated Fright Night, Holland smartly utilizes his knowledge of the audience's understanding of the genre in order to tweak the material without sacrificing the basic structure of a slasher movie in Child's Play. Couple this smarter-than-necessary approach with a deliciously hammy performance from Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky, toss in a wide-eyed terrified youngster, and you have a surprise hit that spawned sequels, none of which come close to the quality of the original (although Bride of Chucky has its fair share of twisted laughs).
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Child's Play seems to have been concocted by a parent who went berserk after standing in line for hours on end to purchase a Cabbage Patch doll in the early 1980s. The film opens with serial killer Brad Dourif taking refuge in a doll factory. Dourif is killed by the cops, but not before he has invoked a voodoo curse which transfers his soul into one of the dolls. That particular doll, nicknamed Chuckie, is unwittingly purchased by Catherine Hicks for her son Alex Vincent. Several murders occur shortly thereafter; all evidence points to Alex, who insists that his cherub-faced doll is responsible. Detective Chris Sarandon, the man responsible for Dourif's death, doesn't swallow Alex's story, but he agrees to investigate because he's sweet on Alex's mom. The slasher-flick ending of Child's Play would seem to have settled Chuckie's hash for good and all, but guess again--the film spawned numerous sequels.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
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