Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Sorry Jack … Chucky’s Back!

Chucky is resurrected when a toy firm refits him with new parts to prove that there was nothing wrong with the original doll. They couldn’t be further from the truth as Chucky escapes to continue his pursuit of Andy, who is now living with foster parents.

 

That’s about as much story as you’re going get from Child’s Play 2, an overly-routine slash fest sequel which does away with a lot of the eeriness and atmosphere of the original and replaces it with higher levels of blood and violence. Don’t get me wrong, Child’s Play did have some pretty violent moments but nowhere near the level of sadism that Chucky shows for his victims in this one. Child’s Play 2 doesn’t bother trying to play nice or even set up things for later in the film – this one comes right out of the starting block.

Child’s Play 2 follows a pretty standard formula for the most part as Chucky meets someone, then kills them and moves onto his next victim until he is led to Andy. Story-wise it does a reasonable job of following on from the first one. Andy has been sent to a foster home because his mother was too traumatized from the events of the original and committed to an asylum. Play Pals have found the remains of the original doll and are analyzing it to see where the problems arose when it comes back to life (it’s not as silly as some of the ways Freddy returned from the dead either!). You could quite easily watch this one back-to-back with the original as the time difference between the two isn’t that long and it feels like a true direct sequel than the rest of the sequels came across.

Unfortunately, the novelty of seeing a killer doll had worn off a lot and Chucky had started to turn into one of these movie maniacs who kill people and then spout off some cheesy one-liner straight after (Freddy Kruger anyone?). Is there any real reason that he’s on-screen for as much as he is? Yes we all know what he looks like now but he’s still given way too much time in front of the camera, saturating the audience by overexposing him too early in the film. Chucky himself looks a lot better this time around and there are some great full body shots of the doll walking along to show you that there are no effects guys holding him from behind. It really is a credit to the effects team that Chucky comes across as so life-like – at no point do you buy into him being simply a doll. His movements and mannerisms all convey personality and identity, helped in no small part to Brad Dourif who returns to voice the character. The doll wouldn’t have been anywhere near as popular had it been given a different voice. Dourif’s voice is perfectly crazy and off-beat enough to make the snarling, the crying, the shouting and the swearing work.

Alex Vincent returns as Andy Barclay which helps the story immensely as his innocent performance was one of the highlights of the first film. I always like to see characters return in sequels as it adds that little bit of extra continuity. Sadly Catherine Hicks and Chris Sarandon couldn’t make it and so the original script was re-written. The new additions to the cast aren’t fleshed out that well and get some barely-scratched backgrounds which aren’t fully detailed and act solely to provide little more than minor characterisation quirks. It would have been nice to have some interesting characters especially given how strong some of them were in the original. It’s by this point that Chucky is clearly becoming the focal point and by receiving the amount of screen time he does, slowly starts to get the audience to root for him.

Maybe that’s why the film is more pedestrian than it should be. It runs like a traditional slasher, only with a small doll doing the murdering. The finale in the toy factory is the clear highlight. The setting is full of stamping presses, conveyer belts, bubbling wax pots and it is peppered with a couple of grisly scenes with various characters being caught or trapped in the machinery. But without the links and compassion towards the characters we are supposed to root for, the proceedings quickly turn into a case of rooting for Chucky to eliminate the minor characters so that we can see some blood.

 

Child’s Play 2 may not be the best slasher film ever made but it finishes its task to be a solid sequel without doing too much wrong. It’s the best sequel in the franchise as it still has enough menace and scares in it without resorting to the cartoonery and tomfoolery of the sequels with Tiffany in. And of course, Chucky is always worth watching when he’s in the killing zone.

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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