Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), AKA Chucky, is a dangerous criminal being chased on the streets by Police Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon). During a local toy store shootout, Charles gets shot and is badly wounded. With only a few minutes of life remaining within him, Charles finds a stack of children’s toys known as “Good Guy Dolls”, and with his last few breaths, he transfers his soul inside one of them. This transfer ends with a massive explosion thanks to a lightning strike, and Detective Mike assumes the hunt for Charles is finally over.
Next, we meet a single mother, Karen (Catherine Hicks), and her son, Andy (Alex Vincent). Andy is up early and excited because it’s his birthday, and he hopes his mother somehow manages to buy a Good Guy Doll. But given the current retail price, Karen has yet to be able to afford one. On the same day, Karen goes to work and has the opportunity to buy a Good Guy Doll from a homeless man. Karen negotiates a fair price and can’t refuse the opportunity; after all, she is a mum who only wants to please her son. When Andy is given his new toy, he is filled with joy and excitement and soon discovers the doll’s name is Chucky. As Andy continues to play with Chucky, we find out that this is no children’s toy. Andy is now the proud owner of the doll that carries the soul of a murderer. Soon, Chucky begins to conduct various murders. Andy becomes suspicious and claims Chucky is alive, but no one believes him, including his mother.
Child’s Play is best described as a horror movie with many fresh and creative ideas that had never been done before in the horror genre. The idea of a possessed doll would later become a significant icon and spawn more films and even hit TV shows in due time. Chucky is a fun yet extremely creepy and horrifying character. Some kills are made without even showing Chucky’s involvement other than his point of view which only creates suspense, mystery and tension. The victims here are predictable, but I can’t deny that watching the kills unfold holds excellent entertainment, especially with some of the creative kills and styles presented on-screen.
The musical score is striking and excellent, thanks to composer Joseph Renzetti. Reminiscent of John Carpenter, the score is suitably creepy. While the kills are fun, the score is an ingredient that adds to the horror and unsettling tension. For the most part, I enjoy the pacing, and the storyline builds and develops wonderfully as our leads learn more about Chucky and discover just how dangerous the cute toy is. The film is most exciting when it involves Chucky interacting with others.
As for performances, I won’t lie; some lines of dialogue are incredibly corny or poorly delivered. Despite the horror and tension, there are strong moments of comedy, especially regarding Chucky as a character and some of the dialogue later in the film. Character deaths, for some, could also be viewed as somewhat laughable. Still, if you’re seeking a horror film that’s brainless and entertaining, in the end, these minor flaws are forgivable, and let’s face it, bad dialogue only adds to the film’s level of comedy and fun.
Overall, how can anyone be surprised that a killer doll named Chucky would later spawn multiple films, a remake, and a hit TV series? Child’s Play is fun, exciting, and deeply creepy. The horror is great, and moments of suspense are thrilling such as kills that occur throughout. Lines of dialogue are corny and cheesy, but they also add a lighter touch to the film making it more comedic than serious. Chucky’s general look, movement, and voice work are impressive and excellent even when rewatching in the present day. Child’s Play is a blast with its horror and comedy and will remain a true classic. If you have never seen this film, it comes highly recommended.