A fun horror movie and beginnings of one of the horror genres more recognizable characters closing in on twenty-years now.
A serial-killer posses a doll with his soul just before death and becomes the birthday gift of a young boy who is dying for a ‘Good Guy’ doll.
I pretty much grew up on these Chucky films and to this day the original still holds a great amount of nostalgia. I can still remember as a kid how scary the killer doll was in this original, and being able to put myself in the small shoes of Andy played by Alex Vincent. I could imagine how terrifying it would have been to have something as important to you as your favorite toy, turn into a knife wielding serial-killer.
While the premise was clearly ridiculous, a murderer on the brink of death transporting his soul into a nearby toy using a satanic like ritual, yes it sounds dumb. But it was creative for the time and the theme was given a relatively simple but enjoyable story-line to build it. The cast performances were not spectacular or anything but they were strong enough to make for solid characters to fill out the script much better than the usual horror film.
Brad Dourif was great as Charles Lee Ray and the voice of Chucky. His charged delivery easily sold him as a killer and his voice-over for the doll was as hilarious as he was convincing in viciousness. The dialogue he was given was not too over the top so his portrayal came across as surprisingly fun to sit back and watch giving his role and that of Chucky an appealing mood for the genre.
Alex Vincent as young Andy was also very good for a child performer. He came across about as innocent as a kid his age could get, it was the clear intention of the script, and he pulled off all his scenes. With a bulk of screen-time given to him, had Vincent’s performance not been as good the films enjoyment would have dropped immensely.
The story did a great job of building up the suspense of finally revealing the ‘Good Guy’ doll as Chucky. The first-person camerawork was fantastic and built a great deal of suspense. There were also a couple of “Jaws”-like glimpses of the doll before the final unveil. Without giving spoilers, I loved how this script built up to the moment and gave a strong reveal with great timing and set-up.
Horror films like these are all predicated on the character, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger and Chucky. This film was able to turn a likable doll that was from all appearances a popular kids toy and turn it into an iconic horror character making the doll become more than a fictitious item. There were plenty of violent moments as Chucky displays his rage and while the film may go exactly where you think it will, the enjoyment does not feel hindered.
For being 1988, the look and make-up effects used to create Chucky were very well done. Chucky had great facial expressions and really felt like the persona of Charles Lee Ray. The story has a swift pace and does not waste time building the character of Chucky by getting into the plot quickly. After all these years “Child’s Play” is still a fun, wildly creative horror film, and always worth a watch.