At one point in Child's Play 2, Chucky promises that "You can't get away from me!" This month, what with Bride of Chucky coming out in the next week, it's certainly true that Stomp Tokyo can't get away from him. We are hell bent, no matter what the cost, to review all the Child's Play films.
The second film picks up with a rather arty opening sequence shortly after the end of Child's Play. The company that built the Good Guy doll takes the remains of Chucky and refurbishes them, ostensibly to prove that nothing was wrong with the doll. During the restoration, one of the workers is fatally electrocuted while operating the machine that forcibly mounts the eyeballs into the doll's face. If you think he's the last person who's going to get killed by such an obviously lethal machine, you haven't watched enough horror films. On the other hand, you may have watched so few modern horror films that you can actually be surprised by what happens in them. In that case, you're actually kind of lucky.
The Chucky doll soon comes to life (again) and starts killing people. No big surprise there. Meanwhile little Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Chucky's original owner/victim, has been placed in foster care. His new prospective parents (suspiciously named the Simpsons) are a typical horror movie couple. They bicker a lot, and they each have a well-defined personality trait or hobby that will figure prominently in their death. They also have another foster child, a world-wise teenager who will probably identify strongly with Alanis Morrisette in later life.
In a scene reminiscent of an
Anton Chekov play, the main characters
discuss the issues of the day.
Suffice it to say that Chucky reappears upon the scene, intent upon stealing Andy's body with his handy bag of voodoo rituals. Because they are Hollywood foster parents, the Simpsons do everything in response to Andy's cries of "killer doll" except get rid of the toy, which allows Chucky to continue his reign of terror. Inevitably, it is left to Andy and Kyle (veteran tv actress Christine Elise), the teenaged foster sister, to deal with the plasticene serial killer.
The unquestionable highlight of Child's Play 2 is Chucky himself. The new incarnation is much more expressive and lifelike, if such a term applies, than the previous Chucky puppet. Also, while the previous Chucky spent much of the film pretending to be a mere toy and falling under furniture, this new version is much more a man of action. His madness and his methods are given personality, even if it is that of a Jack Nicholson impersonator.
While the script is ploddingly formulaic, at least it infuses the formula with its own brand of Chucky style. Chucky is given the chance to slay some choice targets, including an overbearing grade-school teacher, which really warmed our sympathies towards him. True, the movie follows the False Scare Rule faithfully (we suggest counting the seconds between the false scare and the real one), and the last half-hour steals shamelessly from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it is entertaining.
"Harry! I told you too much TV
would be bad for your eyes!"
What best entertained us about Child's Play 2 was the fact that through improved animatronics and the lack of need to pretend that Chucky is anything but a killer doll, Chucky is finally given the freedom to cut loose. Chucky hardly ever disguises himself anymore, preferring to lure victims into a trap and then savor the looks on their faces when they finally realize the truth. We then get the pleasure of watching yet another hapless schmuck come to a gruesome end at the hands of what they insisted mere moments ago was "only a doll."
Moviegoers know better than to think that Chucky is a mere doll. By now, he's an icon, capable of a feature film comeback after seven years of hiatus. And this second film is just good enough to be the one that cemented his status among the horror franchises that wouldn't die.