I’m pretty sure, logically speaking, that Chucky’s second cinematic slaughter spree doesn’t strictly deserve four stars and yet check that rating.
Truth is, I’ve always had something of a minor love affair with Child’s Play 2 despite it basically being a fairly above average sequel and that’s mainly due to a couple of points that make the thing so darn memorable to me. But before we delve into the random pluses that cause the movie to stand out, let’s check out that plot.
It’s a been couple of months since the events of the first movie and young Andy Barclay is sadly now in foster care due to the actress playing his mother not signing up for the sequel – oh no wait, she’s had a breakdown or something, that’s right. Andy, labelled somewhat of a problem child due to his extreme circumstances has just been shuttled to a new home with a kindly couple looking out for him (Gerrit Graham and Jenny Agutter, both with VICTIM stamped on their foreheads) and a moody teen foster sister to bond with but his troubles turn out to be far from over. The company who makes the Good Guy doll has rebuilt the charred remains of Chucky in order to determine what the Hell happened the first time round (voodoo possession by serial killer apparently isn’t on their list of suspected problems) and before you know the vicious little shit is running loose again, desperate to shift his soul into Andy before he gets stuck in his little plastic ginger body for good.
There is nothing stand out about the plot for Child’s Play 2, in fact the time honoured tale of a killer resurrecting and simply continuing their rampage is a standard slasher sequel storyline. No, there’s nothing here that breaks the mold from a plot based point of view, but it’s execution (pun very much intended) is far more impressive.
You see, director John Lafia (a co-write on the first film) has tried to go stylistically all out with a bizarre Hitchcockian comic book vibe that to be brutally honest, isn’t subtle and yet totally appeals to little old me and the very Bernard Herrmann type score by Graeme Revel cements the deal nicely. It’s very must a “movie” movie with tons of logically questionable scenes but it’s all in the name of getting a cool sequence, no one stacks boxes in a factory 20 feet high to form the maze out of The Shining, no photocopier magically spits out dozens of copies of the stabbing victim slumped over the screen and no doll is going to shoot though a windscreen like a cannonball just because you’ve slammed the brakes on, but it all looks awesome. And the cool scenes just keep coming, a cackling Chucky “killing” another Good Guy doll and burying it in the garden in order to take it’s place, the killer doll lying at the bottom of some stairs with a shaft of light across him, a set piece involving Chucky advancing on a wounded teacher brandishing a meter ruler, all shot from funky angles, all super colourful.
The film’s super spiteful too with legitimately gruesome deaths being frantically dealt out to cast members like a croupier overdosing on china white with drawn of suffocations by plastic bag and dolls eyes being popped into eye sockets being only two such enthusiastically nasty demises.
However, the best thing about Child’s Play two is that purely from a special effects point of view, the movie probably is the best showcase for Kevin Yagher’s animatronic Chucky work you’ll ever see because they don’t stop the show, they ARE the show. Without any aid of visual effects or sticking a little person in a suit, Yagher’s Chucky doll walks, talks, uses the phone, gives someone the finger, you name it. None if it is remotely scary and the Freddy-esque, rapid fire quipping somewhat undercuts the subtlety of the orginal but if you’ve paid to see Chucky then you can’t say the filmmakers haven’t given you your moneys worth.
It’s no work of art and sometimes it’s relentless pandering of cool set pieces often throw up the occasional plot hole or clanger (the insanely dangerous Good Guy factory seen in the climax seems to boasts a floor plan that would make M.C. Escher’s head spin and a safety record that would make a third world sweat shop blush) but this isn’t supposed to be taken seriously, it’s a killer doll movie for christ’s sake!
Despite it’s many – mostly forgivable – faults, Child’s Play 2 shows that not all Good Guys finish last.