Child’s Play 3 (1991)

Child's Play 3 (1991)

Look who’s stalking!

Years after the events with Chucky, Andy Barclay has grown up and is about to start military school. In the meantime, Play Pals decide to re-release the Good Guys doll line, thinking that enough time has passed since the original murders ruined their public image. Re-using old materials to create their dolls, one of the new dolls is possessed by the vengeful spirit of Charles Lee Ray who immediately seeks out Andy in the hope of finishing him off.

 

As with the first sequel, that’s about as much story as you’re going to get from Child’s Play 3. Let’s face it, there’s no real need to create anything complicated for the story to follow. Chucky has unfinished business with Andy and wants his soul so instead of rolling out yet another film with Andy as a child, Child’s Play 3 wisely decides to move the entire story forward a few years to try and give the audience a different spin on the tale. At least that was the idea but what we end up with is more damaging to the series than one could have expected. Perhaps the decision to rush it out nine months after the last sequel was a poor call and a bit more time spent in pre-production, especially on the screenplay, would have worked wonders.

Child’s Play 3 works to some extent but for the most it’s the weakest entry in the series. It’s nothing special simply because there are no great plot twists, no dramatic occurrences and no real changes in direction from the material that we’ve already had in the other two films. Though Andy is now a young adult, Chucky conveniently finds another child to attempt to swap bodies with and so this sequel just retreads the same story as the first two and simply places the story in a different setting. This time it’s a military academy and the object of his pursuit is a young boy named Tyler. This kid is annoying – the actor (Jeremy Sylvers) is a little too over-awed in the role and he’s also a little too old to believe in dolls. Compare him to Alex Vincent in the first two films and the difference in quality is staggering. Vincent was able to balance the precious innocence of his youth alongside a resolute, almost adult-like self-determination to stop Chucky to make a huge impression.

The story is little more than signposting to get from one death scene to the next and from early on, you know that’s little more than you’re going to get. Chucky’s resurrection into his new body isn’t well explained (at least it was the same doll in the first sequel) and the film skims over the requisite scenes of him working out what he needs to do in order to become human again. This allows him plenty of time to get doing what he does best and that’s kill people. The film is the bloodiest of the series to date, with Chucky going to work on everyone and anyone with whatever he could get his hands on. With the ante upped on the gore and set pieces, the slower-burning suspense and tension of the first two films is replaced with a quicker, more frenetic pace. In attempting to outdo the previous two films, the script here shows a bit too much of Chucky and not enough of the other characters we’re supposed to root for.

Chucky is now firmly in the role of anti-hero, a character that the audience knows that it shouldn’t be cheering on but they do because he’s fun to watch (and because the characters we’re supposed to empathise with are either dull as dishwater or total assholes). I’m sure you’ll feel guilty for cheering on such an evil, psychotic murderer but the way his character has easily been manipulated by the demands of the audience into such an anti-hero will leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Chucky gets to fire off his usual one-liners and witty remarks but you also know that he’s a truly nasty piece of work, killing people here not because they are getting in the way of his plan but simply because he gets kicks out of it. Brad Dourif returns to voice Chucky and he’s as excellent as ever.

Unfortunately it’s the entry which has been saddled with the most negative press due to the tragic death of young James Bulger in the UK, whose horrible murder was stupidly pinned upon his two killers apparently watching Child’s Play 3 numerous times – a fact which was proven untrue during the court case. But the damage had been done and despite being falsely labelled, it has never fully repaired its reputation. Granted it’s not the greatest entry in the series but there is a heck of a lot worse films out there in the market both in terms of film quality and brutal content.

 

Child’s Play 3 isn’t the greatest of slasher films, nor is it the worst by a long way. It’s pretty serviceable and at ninety minutes, it’s certainly a brisk film. You just come to expect more from a franchise which started out so superbly but has descended into little more than average within the space of three films. This is one toy that has outgrown it’s use.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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