Child's Play

1988

Child's Play

Critics Consensus

Child's Play occasionally stumbles across its tonal tightrope of comedy and horror, but its genuinely creepy monster and some deft direction by Tom Holland makes this chiller stand out on the shelf.

67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 267,353
User image

Watch it now

Child's Play Photos

Movie Info

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.

Cast

Catherine Hicks
as Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon
as Mike Norris
Alex Vincent
as Andy Barclay
Brad Dourif
as Charles Lee Ray
Dinah Manoff
as Maggie Peterson
Tommy Swerdlow
as Jack Santos
Jack Colvin
as Dr. Ardmore
Edan Gross
as Friendly Chucky/Kid in Animated Commercial
Alan Wilder
as Mr. Criswell
Raymond Oliver
as Dr. Death
Ted Liss
as George
Michael Chavez
as Bellevue Patient
John Franklin
as Walkabout Chucky
Michael Patrick Carter
as Kid in Animated Commercial
Ed Gale
as Chucky
Neil Giuntoli
as Eddie Caputo
View All

News & Interviews for Child's Play

Critic Reviews for Child's Play

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (12)

Audience Reviews for Child's Play

  • Oct 19, 2018
    If you a want a bit of pointless trivia about me, and who wouldn't want pointless trivia about me...oh, what's that??? You mean nobody wants useless trivia about me. Alright, fuck you too. This is my review and I do what I want. In all seriousness though, at a whopping 10 or so months old (depending when my mother and aunt decided to go see the movie), this was one of the first movies I saw in a theater. Well, I mean, I say saw, but what I really mean is that this was one of the first movies I was in a theater for. It is highly doubtful that I actually saw any of the movie. Regardless, at a later age, when I was still a wee lad, this was one of those movies that I grew up on. Until 1997, I think, we did not have cable TV so, of course, we had to watch the local channels and whatever they offered. Living on such a small island, we had like four or five local channels. One of these channels used to air movies and one of those movies that aired, constantly, was Child's Play. And not just the original, the entire trilogy, for that matter, used to air too. In fact, I was such a fan that I made my mom, the saint, take me to see Bride of Chucky in 1998 when I was a whopping 10 years old. To this day, I think the only Chucky movie I haven't seen is Seed of Chucky and, for all intents and purposes, it doesn't seem like I'm missing much. I've been a fan of the last two movies in the franchise, both of which were direct-to-video but, still, brought the character back in a fun way and they've done some cool things with the rebooted franchise. So, for this horror fest, I thought it'd be fun to look back at this movie that was such a major part of my childhood. I think one of the first things I noticed about the movie is how much more I like the horror villains that can speak like Chucky, Freddy and even Pinhead as opposed to the faceless, voiceless monsters like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface. That's not to say that one is better than the other but, for my preference, I tend to gravitate to these more because their personalities are so much more strong when compared to these other villains. I feel like you can do more with characters that talk as opposed to those that don't. And, of course, Chucky being such a fucking foul-mouthed asshole, to the point that he's actually kind of endearing, is one of the things, to me, that gave the movie the success it had. I mean, we're talking about a killer doll. Don't ask me why this movie was successful in 1988. Then again, really, we were in the middle of the slasher being at is most popular, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me and with such a strong personality like Chucky at its core, you've got a very compelling concept. And silly, let's not forget silly. Serial killer performs this voodoo ritual in order to transport his spirit onto this Good Guy doll. I mean, how the fuck could this be taken seriously? And that's something the Child's Play franchise has always, at least, understood. The concept is preposterous and seeing grown-ass adults struggling, fighting with a doll that is trying to kill them. The visual of it is preposterous and comical. With that said, as much as this was a part of my childhood and as much as I was nostalgic to watch it again with a fresh set of yes, this movie hasn't exactly aged well in the thirty years since its release. Of course, it's still a perfectly decent and even solid horror movie (that I'd feel comfortable giving a 2.75 rating if it was possible) thanks to its really memorable final act. I think the issue lies in the fact that, as someone who has seen what the Child's Play franchise has become, going back to its roots made it feel a little outdated when compared to later films in the franchise. Personally, I don't think Don Mancini expected the character of Chucky to catch on as he did, so the original movie was written more to be centered around the human characters as, for the most part, that ends up being the hook for a lot of people. But, let's be honest, none of these people are as compelling as Chucky himself. So the fact that a lot of this movie centers around Andy, Karen, his mother, and Mike, the lead detective, figuring out whether or not Andy's claims that Chucky is committing all of these crimes are true or if he's just lying out of his means that the movie focuses on its least interesting aspects, the human characters. And I feel that, at least this was the case in the last two movies, they've improved on this and had slightly more interesting characters like Nica, as an example. But, in 1988, Andy, Karen and Mike did absolutely nothing for me and the entire draw of the movie was Chucky himself. The movie does wait until almost half its running time for Chucky to truly reveal himself and, again, as someone who's spoiled by later movies, I felt like they waited too long to do this because, again, the human characters just aren't that interesting. Alex Vincent, the kid who played Andy in this, the second movie and the last two movies, was just awful here. To be fair to Alex, he wasn't even seven years old at the time of this film's release, but he is still so fucking bad. The fact of the matter is that, until they take Andy away from his mother, he's, really, the major driving force of the film, makes this movie an incredibly rough watch at times. I hate to pile on a kid that was five or six at the time of filming, but he really was quite awful in this movie. I feel like that's a big part of why the movie gets the rating it does. Everything with Chucky is great, but there's not necessarily a good balancing act to me. I feel like Chucky should have been truly revealed earlier on in the film instead of just cramming everything into the second half of the film. If Chucky reveals himself earlier and is seen interacting with Andy then, maybe, that could have offset some of Alex's awful acting. I mean, he still would have been bad, but it wouldn't have been as noticeable if the scenes where Alex had to do a lot of speaking were a little more spread apart. Having said that, I'll still admit that the final act himself is really memorable and fun. It's just a shame that it wasn't backed up by a more consistently entertaining first 2/3rds of the movie. So, yea, this doesn't 'destroy my childhood' (which is as stupid a phrase in geekdom as I've ever heard) as, prior to watching it yesterday, I was expecting to be a cheesefest and not very good. Nostalgia warps our memories and I understand that completely. I wasn't watching his because I was expecting to watch a classic, like I would expect with The Exorcist, I just wanted to see how this has aged and, honestly, hasn't aged perfectly. It's still a decent horror movie and I would probably still recommend it to horror nerds, but the Child's Play franchise has seen better days lately and, ultimately, makes this feel completely outdated. Decent enough, but not good.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2017
    Chucky is sort of one of those lesser Greek gods in the pantheon of intriguing horror ideas that typically get stretched out beyond all good taste in an inevitable slew of sequels. Still, even a lesser god is something. Certain horror film ideas resonate well. A creepy old doll is one of those classic setups. Child's Play executes a competent slasher. The usual setup moments are all present, but well done. There are plenty of unique kills, and jump scares. Child's Play succeeds because it got the fundamentals down properly. The characters deliver passable performance with some life and dimension. The mistake a lot of these movies make is giving none of the random victims any dimension. I've seen plenty of interesting slasher ideas fall flat because they skipped that sort of obvious part of making the mechanics work. It is a pretty simple formula to do a reasonable job of. I am not sure it hits the masterful level of say Halloween, but it is pretty good. Child's Play raises up into the upper crust of these sorts of movies because it also executes a really ironic version of a good horror movie staple. Chucky is menacing and highly memorable. You identify with the icon similar to leatherface, Jason or Freddy. It can be hard to join the horror movie lexicon of classic monsters, but Chucky finds room.
    Shane S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2017
    I'm a big fan of the Chucky franchise. Throughout all of its ups and downs, Don Mancini and the gang have never failed to bring forward a watchable movie. Even the most recent entry, Cult of Chucky (which was kind of a fuck-up) provided me great enjoyment as a series-long fan. But no subsequent movie has ever matched the original for me. That first Child's Play didn't just birth a classic character, it is, in and of itself, a classic. The first time you see Chucky open his mouth and hear the words of the real Brad Douriff... I've seen it twenty times over, and I'm still floored every single one of them. Absolutely floored, and floored with a massive grin on my face to boot.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 08, 2015
    Nothing new here but a deft, solid, nippy thriller. Exactly what a 15's horror film should be. Andy is unbelievably terrible for most of it (such a clueless milquetoast, even for an eight-year-old) but Hicks and Sarandon are both very decent and the ill-fated Dinah Manoff as sassy BFF is a standout. In retrospect the wedding of Brad Dourif's fantastic vocal talents with Chucky's excellent SFX seems close to genius. Nothing beats the swift transformation of the doll from a cooing mass-market toy of unbelievable blandness (clearly based on The Get Along Gang and suchlike 80's rubbish) to the grinning, sneering gargoyle spitting out Dourif's rancid lines. Making Chucky permanently scarred and ugly in later films dissipated that contrast, which forms the best central idea of the first movie.
    Charles B Super Reviewer

Child's Play Quotes

News & Features