I’m going to begin this review with five words: I hate cursed doll movies. Hate them. It’s not because they are scary or messed up or anything like that, it’s because they are stupid. For some reason or another, cursed dolls turned into a popular horror topic, and then movies like Annabelle happened. The two horror categories I’ve never understood were clowns and dolls. The pinnacle horror film franchise revolving around a cursed doll is undoubtedly the Chucky series – and I’ve always wondered what was so great about Child’s Play to warrant 6 more movies in the series. Because I couldn’t possibly imagine the answer – I watched the first movie and braced myself for what was sure to be “unforgettable”. Let’s get into it.
Child’s Play is ultimately about a cursed doll that is possessed with the soul of a serial killer – and he is using this host to get back at the two people he hates the most. When a kid gets the doll for his birthday, the family is also thrown into the mix, and they all have to fight off a child’s play thing while simultaneously trying not to sound crazy.
The main question I had when watching this movie was simply, was this going to be as stupid as I imagined it would be. The answer was both yes and no. My confusion over the cursed doll idea is unchanged, and I remain annoyed at the fact that I watched an entire movie about one – but I have to give the movie props because the way it was done wasn’t terrible. It presented an idea and a memorable character in Chucky, despite my biased opinion against that idea. However, I’d still have to say the strongest part of this movie is that it’s 1988, and wasn’t a modern horror film. It contained somewhat known actors in the middle of a fully developed story and the characters were all mostly balanced as well. That’s something modern horror films have been missing for a while, and it was refreshing to see that here.
Now here’s my complaint. Let’s ignore my biased opinion that cursed dolls are stupid and look at the facts. In order to connect with any horror genre, you need to be able to put yourself in one of the character’s positions – if you can do that, you can get scared. Here’s why I don’t think you can – this is a movie that’s not only about a doll, but a boy’s doll – not action figure, doll. Why is that so bad? First of all, I am a guy. As a boy, I had a few friends who were also boys. We hung out now and then, and none of them had dolls. How can I connect with this character when it’s centered around an unlikely scenario? I’m not saying boys never have dolls, I’m just saying we live in a society where boys typically wear blue, girls wear pink, boys play with toys and girls have dolls. That’s basically why I’m more in tune with Toy Soldiers than this. I’m just saying.
Other than that, the acting was mostly fine, apart from the young boy. The look of Chucky was memorable, not that I’m surprised. It was mostly exactly as I expected it to be. No part of it was scary, chilling, creepy or the like. It was as if you were watching a typical serial murderer movie – the serial murderer just happened to be…a plaything.