Movie Review: Child's Play (1988)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1988 thriller starring Chris Sarandon and Brad Dourif.

Synopsis: A struggling single mother purchases the doll her 6-year-old son has been asking for from a homeless person. She was able to get the doll, Chucky, for a good price. However, what she doesn't know is the doll is possessed by a deceased serial killer's soul and he is eager to get revenge on his ex-partner and the cop who shot him.


My wife convinced me to watch this movie last night and, as we started watching it, I realized I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. This was the first time in a long time I had actually taken the time to watch the film and, based mostly on my experience with the sequels (which I think are pretty lousy), I wasn't sure if I was going to still enjoy it. However, as it turns out, this was as good as I remembered it.

I've mentioned before that I always get a little creeped out when watching movies about possessed dolls. That, in all honesty, wasn't the case this time around (I think, once again, that's because of the sequels ruining it for me). However, the movie still proved to be a good thriller.

I think the thing I liked about this film was the way the writers saved the best parts for last. It's pretty obvious, early on, that the doll is possessed and can move around on his own. However, the filmmakers wisely avoid showing it until much later in the movie. I think, by doing this, the film is a little creepier than it normally would be because of the building anticipation.

Probably the most memorable part of this film, for me at least, was Chucky going after the little boy (Vincent) so he could possess his body. By that point in the movie, the child had been checked into a mental hospital (something that usually happens when people start dying around you and you blame a doll). Movies that take place in mental hospitals are creepy enough. When you add a killer doll to the mix, you really can't go wrong.

I think my only real complaint about this film is the ending does end up being a little predictable and, as is usually the case, the predictability does keep the ending from becoming too intense. In fact, there were times when it was a bit campy. However, it was still OK enough to keep me liking the movie overall.

Child's Play (Chucky's 20th Birthday Edition)

The "chills come thick and fast" (Los Angeles Times) as voodoo and terror meet within an innocent-looking doll inhabited by the soul of a serial killer who isn't ready to die. F...

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Final Opinion

I'm still not a huge fan of the sequels but, overall, I do still think this movie is a halfway decent thriller and would recommend it as a result of that.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 07/03/2015, StevenHelmer
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