Warning, this is a spoiler based review
The reason I chose to go with the original poster for this review, opposed to the one featuring Chucky, is because although I have never, at the time of me typing this sentence, seen the original three Chucky movies, I do know that the idea of the doll being the killer was supposed to be a big plot twist. I read that in the original script, it was supposed to be left at the end of the movie, completely ambiguous as to who the killer was. Though they changed their minds about it at some point and filmed the version which exists today.
As I've got the movie paused, waiting at 3 seconds in, for me to actually start watching the movie, I can't help, but feel like I'm breaking a big rule here. This movie was always banned from even being spoken about as I was growing up, no one would talk about it, so I keep thinking my parents are going to burst in and ground me for watching it. Even though I'm 29.
And they don't live with me.
And they're in Norway on holiday at the moment.
*Goes to make sure the front door is locked.*
So we open on Brad Dourif running down the street, running away from some cops who are chasing him, he's shot by one of the cops and his friend in a van drives away as he begs him not to leave him. Brad quickly ducks behind a pole, evading a police car though another cop on foot is chasing him. Dourif's character, Charles Lee Ray, shoots the lock of a toy shop and slips inside.
|Dolls wearing dungarees will never be trusted again...|
|The last time this face looked innocent was in 1988|
An advert comes on the telly for Good Guys dolls which speak three different sentences and Andy awes in delight, the advert tells the kid that each doll has it's own name and the kids should tell Mom & Dad that they want a Good Guy. The kid burns his toast, as one only can in the movies and puts a spoon of what looks like ice scream on top, then carries the food on a tray to his mother. Bless him.
He has to jump on his mother to wake her up, though it's only 6.30, I'll let her off for not supervising the kid, but she needs a fridge lock or something. Andy opens the curtains and tells his mother it's a beautiful day outside outside and she needs to get up and I get a post traumatic flash back to my teenage years. Andy and his mother play on the bed for a bit and Andy asks if he can open his presents, his mother turns off the telly as a plot convenient news report says that Ray was shot and killed at 3am that morning.
Andy asks if he can open the big one first, thinking it's a Good Guys doll, but when he opens it... oh you, bitch. It's clothes. For every child everywhere who ever opened a big box thinking it was a toy or a game and to only face disappointment as you discover clothes beneath the wrapping paper, I think someone needs a slap. I hated getting that stunt pulled on me. His mother gushes about him needing the clothes badly, but Andy looks at her, betrayed. She eventually realises this and tells him to open his other presents. She's got him a Good Guys tool chest, Andy says he wants a doll to go with it, his mother says she knows, but didn't know about it in time to save up for it. So I get the feeling that they're a bit strapped for cash and having a kid who's obsessed with a cash cow franchise must be a pain in the butt.
At her job at a jewellery counter, Andy's mother, Karen, is approached by a breathless friend who tells her that there's a peddler in the alley behind the shop with a Good Guy doll and they should be able to get a deal on it, apparently they cost a hundred dollars from reputable shop peddlers, opposed to back alley peddlers. Adjusting that for inflation with a handy little tool I found here, that's about $189.93 in modern US dollars or, £117.72 in real money. (I jest, American cousins, I jest.) If the kid were mine, it would be waiting till a cheap one came up on ebay... wait, 80's, no internet... it would be waiting the 59 weeks it would take it to save up it's pocket money or it would be a big present, i.e, you ask everyone in the family to chuck in a tenner.
Karen's friend tells her if she wants the doll she has to come right away and literally drags her away from her desk. So the street peddler at first asks for fifty dollars, her friend counters 10, the peddler counters 30 and says if she doesn't want it, someone else will take it, she insists that she does in fact want it. The friend says it's too much money and they don't know if it works, 30 dollars adjusted is about 56 dollars now or about £34 which I don't think is that much, it sounds fairly reasonable to please an unpleasable child. Even if it doesn't speak, it's the novelty of the doll itself, though I know this doll is possessed by a serial killer and obviously that changes things a bit.
Karen returns and her boss chews her out for being away from her desk, then tells her another employee has called in sick and she will have to fill in. She tells him that she has to pick up her son from day care in an hour so her friend says she will cover the shift, the boss says that's impossible because the friend works in shoes, not jewellery. He tells her that she has to do the shift, he'll let her go collect Andy from day care, but she has to return. Karen tells him it's Andy's birthday, but he doesn't care because he's an uncaring movie boss. In the 80's I'm sure they probably had rules about not treating your employees like this. The friend offers to take care of Andy since the boss is being so unreasonable.
|Do not address me, lowly shoe person, we sell things with beads here!|
Andy introduces himself to the doll and asks what it's name is, the doll blinks twice and looks at Andy and says "Hi I'm Chucky and I'm your friend to the end. Hi de ho!" I'm not sure, but could a doll with todays technology do that? Cos if they can, we need to recreate a Chucky doll that talks.
Karen is super impressed and now that she has bought his love, Andy is satisfied and hugs his mother. Later, the friend is babysitting and eating a bit of birthday cake whilst Andy plays his new tools and doll in the living room, a report comes on the television that Eddie, Ray's partner, has escaped from police custody and the doll turns it's head to see. Andy complains to Chucky that he's not watching, so Chucky turns back and asks if Andy wants to play. The friend says it's time to go to bed, Andy reiterates this to Chucky, Andy bends to Chucky and then tells the friend, Maggie, that Chucky wants to watch the 9 o'clock news.
Maggie takes Andy and Chucky to the bedroom, turning off the tv and Andy offers to show Chucky his room whilst Maggie clears some things away and then Andy goes to clean his teeth. The tv turns back on, scaring Maggie and when she checks the living room, she see's Chucky sat in the chair, watching the news. She tells Andy off for turning on the tv, Andy says he didn't do it and asks Chucky if he did, Chucky stays shtum and Maggie tucks them both into the bed, ignoring Andy's protests of innocence. Andy kisses Chucky and turns over to go to sleep.
We get an outside shot of the building, which is the building from the cover, then Maggie in the living room, closing the window. The door handle to Andy's bedroom door turns and then opens and we get a fast POV shot coming down the hall. Then a fast shot of something running past the living room and Maggie turns her head to see if it's Andy.
|Modern technology reveals it to be a little person in a wig|
That over with, it's Karen calling to see how things are going now that she is working in a department shop at gone 9 o'clock at night, which of course has no customers. Maggie says she had scared herself a bit, but everything's fine and Karen says she will be home soon. Chucky picks up the hammer from Andy's tool chest and Maggie inspects a plant pot to make sure it isn't harbouring any vicious killer dolls.
Maggie turns, is scared by something and then hit in the face with a hammer, stumbles halfway across the room and then throws her stunt woman out of the window.
|Farewell Maggie, we hardly knew ye|
Andy is in his bedroom with a police officer, the one from the beginning, Andy tells Karen there was an accident and the officer asks to speak to her in the hall. The officer tells her that Maggie fell from the kitchen window and shows Karen the window, Karen cries and is visibly upset. He shows Karen some small foot prints on the counter and she immediately jumps to the defensive, though he says that none of Andy's shoes match the prints. Andy runs in with Chucky and tells his mother that Chucky wanted to know what was going on, the officer spots Andy's pyjamas which have built in trainers and he asks to see them. He takes a look, but obviously there's no flour on them.
|This guy on the other hand...|
Karen tells the officer that Andy would be innocent and the officer gets the cops to clear out of the house, Andy spots the flour on his shoes and runs to tell the officer, but Karen sends Andy to bed. Outside, the officer gives another cop the hammer, bagged and tells him to test it for evidence. In the bathroom Karen hears Andy talking and she goes in to find Andy sitting on the floor, talking to the doll sat on the chair. She asks Andy what Chucky's been saying, Andy tells her that Chucky's real name is Charles Lee Ray and was sent down from heaven by his daddy for Andy to play with, aw.
Oh and also, that Maggie was a real bitch and got what she deserved. Karen asks him how he can say this, Andy says Chucky's alive, obviously Karen doesn't believe him, but if my kid fed me that story I'd be already getting a funeral pyre ready for the doll and a psych unit for the kid, just in case. Karen puts Andy to bed, when she leaves the room Andy tells Chucky not to worry because his mother didn't believe him, Chucky looks at the door, then at Andy, then tells him he likes to be hugged. Aw.... wait... ew.....
The next day Karen takes Andy and Chucky to school, other kids also have Good Guys dolls, as Karen leaves, Andy comes to the door and then leaves the school grounds carrying Chucky. Andy gets on a train, somehow and has whispered conversations with Chucky.
|Nobody questions this.|
The pilot light on the oven is blown out and Chucky turns on the gas. Andy returns from peeing to find that Chucky has gone and he calls for him. Eddie hears the sound of something breaking and looks around, firing his gun. Andy hears the gun shots and run towards them, to see where Chucky is, Eddie hears Andy calling outside and once he sees it's a little boy, sighs with relief, he hears another sound inside the house and opens the kitchen door and fires, causing the house to explode.
|The house explodes!|
|Then it collapses.|
Though I'm sure being near a collapsed building wasn't a crime in the 80's any more than it is now and it's the school's fault, not Karens that Andy left the school building. Just saying. Andy shakes Chucky and asks him why he won't speak as Dectective Norris looks on in disgust and Karen is distressed. Andy tells his mother that Chucky is doing it on purpose and that if Andy told anyone about him, he'd kill him. A shrink through a mirror suggests that Andy spends a couple of days in the psych ward. Karen returns home alone, well almost, with Chucky.
She swears at Chucky who tells her he likes to be hugged. Karen then inspects the box that Chucky came in, only to find that the Good Guys brand batteries drop out of the box still in their wrapper.
|Dun, dun dun....|
|The real Chucky|
Karen gets in a taxi and goes to the police station just in time to catch Detective Norris, she tells him Andy was telling the truth... want to guess how this goes? After the usual spiel, she shows him the bite, he asks how it got there, she tells him, he doesn't believe it... yadda yadda, you know, she gets into a taxi and says she's going to find Chucky and start by asking the peddler she bought him from. Detective Norris says that she shouldn't go down there at this time of night.
Karen asks a bunch of homeless guys if they've seen the peddler, none of them can help her. Then at a homeless camp she finally finds him and asks him where he got the doll, she offers him the money in her purse but he says it isn't enough and then tries to rape her.
Luckily, she is saved just in time by Detective Norris. Yay! Detective Norris chases away from crowd of homeless guys then tells the homeless guy to answer the questions. He admits he took the doll from the burn out toy store which throws Norris. Karen asks him why he's upset and he tells her that the burn out toy store was where Charles Lee Ray died, Karen has no idea who that is. Norris tells her he was a serial killer and Eddie's partner, Karen turns and says she's going to the place and Norris tells his it's a wreck because it was struck by lightning the night Ray died. She asks him how she knows and he tells her it was because he was there and killed Ray and that Ray threatened to kill him.
Norris drives Karen home and of course he thinks she's crazy, she demands to know where Ray lived, but he tells her he's already checked the house. He refuses to accept what she's saying and forces her out of the car, she tells him she knows he wants to check it out and of course he goes to his office to get the file on Ray. He gets back to his car and Chucky jumps up from the back seat and wraps a cord around his neck to choke him.
|For some reason this makes Norris want to go for a joy ride|
The next day, Karen arrives at Ray's place... boy, I've seen some home decorating nightmares before, but this one's a bit much. There's murals of violent images painted on the walls with intricate symbols and depictions of voodoo. There's also dolls nailed to the wall and a mannequin sculpture. Norris sneaks up on Karen and tells her about Chucky's voodoo teacher, though doesn't mention the Chucky trying to kill him bit.
Norris and Karen arrive at John's house and find John still alive, only barely. John tells Karen she must save the boy, he tells her to kill Chucky, the only way to kill him is his heart which is almost human. At the asylum, Andy spots Chucky out of the window climbing the fire escape, Andy shouts for help and the doctor comes, but says he can't see anything.
|How the 80's dealt with 6 year olds|
Karen and Norris arrive at the asylum, another police officer tells Norris that Andy escaped, but another child saw Chucky. They figure that Andy would head home, which he has and they head for there. Andy, being very smart, I'm impressed with this kid, barricades the front door, then his bedroom door, then he hides in the wardrobe with his toys, he finds a plastic bat and remote control car.
Chucky comes through the fire place, kid shoulda set a fire, then sneaks up to Andy's room, Andy hits him on the head with the bat and then runs through the apartment, losing sight of Chucky. Chucky jumps up behind him and knocks him out with the bat. Norris and Karen arrive at the apartment block, but Chucky has started his voodoo chant, the thunder and lightning start up, but Norris and Karen struggle to get in because of the barricade. They make it inside and Karen grabs Chucky, who tries to bite her, Norris throws him off Karen so he stabs the back of Norris's leg.
Norris gives Karen his spare gun and stalks through the house looking for Chucky beats up Norris with a bat and Karen shoots Chucky in the leg. Chucky chases her through the apartment and Karen manages to trap him inside the fireplace. With Chucky going crazy she struggles to reach for a match and screams for Andy to help her, Andy lights a match and Chucky looks up at him saying. "Andy, no, we're friends to the end remember?" Andy delivers the pre-mortem one liner, "This is the end."
Andy drops the match in the fireplace, setting Chucky on fire, Chucky breaks free, but on fire screams in agony as he is burned and the doll starts to melt to a black mess on the carpet. Norris calls for them and Karen goes to check on him, Andy grabs the first aid kit, but the body of Chucky is gone. He runs and is tripped over by what is left of Chucky.
Chucky comes after Andy and he runs into the room with his mother and Norris, Chucky tries to break down the door, then runs to the other door and stabs through it, managing to stab Karen's hand. He stabs at the door systematically, slowly reaching Karen, then gives up for some reason and goes back to the other door. Karen and Andy run, Karen shoots at Chucky, blowing his head off, but his body keeps moving, then she shoots off an arm and leg, but he keeps moving toward them. Karen then shoots him in the body, but the gun runs out of bullets, in time for the other cop to show up. Norris shouts for Karen and she runs to him, the cop asks what's going on and Norris tells him that the doll was alive and almost got them, of course the cop doesn't believe him, would you?
Norris tells him to check the doll, but not to touch it, not one part, so the cop goes up to the head and touches it, poking it a few times, then picking it up and brining it back into the room where he sticks it on the tv, declaring it isn't alive. The body then jumps through the vent and attacks the cop, clawing at his throat, Karens helps him and throws the body across the room which helps itself up. Norris shoots Chucky in the heart and he screams and falls down, twitching a few times before giving us his final, "Hi, I'm Chucky, wanna play?"
|Not a pretty sight|
|And only Dourif gets the comic con panel|
Summary: Well, I enjoyed it, I suspected I would. It's a really well made movie, it's got good acting, good characters, the little boy is brilliant and really delivers his performances, I wonder how long he was traumatised for after making this? Not too long I suppose since apparently he's in the second one too, good little actor though. Particularly in the asylum scene when he starts to cry.
There was quite a few surprises in there that I really wasn't expecting, that bloody loud telephone being one of them. Though it left me wondering, why this:
Did it scare me? Well, apart from the phone, no, it didn't really scare me. I suspect that's due to being desensitised to stuff, not seeing it as a kid, etc, though I didn't see Candyman till I was 26 and that scared the crap out of me.
It's dated. It's dated in ways I never really expected a movie to age, things such as, stern 80's bosses, illegal interview techniques, vulnerable child care, the stuff that programs like CSI, NCSI, Law & Order, SVU, Criminal Minds, etc, has totally ruined for us. I look at the world through internet tinted lenses now, most kids these days know that if the must have toy is too expensive or the shop has run out, then there's internet and ebay and Cash Converters. So it's not really a problem with the movie itself, it's just very hard to turn off that part of my brain. If you saw this movie as a kid or before the rise of internet, it'll probably get by you a lot easier.
The puppetry is excellent and mixing it with a little person in a mask for fleeting glances or fast movement shots works really well for the movie. Dourif, of course, is great. I mean he's Brad Dourif, even when the guy phones it in, it's oscar bait.
I'm just not scared by it, but I don't think I need to be to enjoy it.
8 out of 10
Edit: All the way through this blood movie I've been looking at the mother and wondering where I know her from and why she looks like Elizabeth Shue. It's only the bloody whale expert woman from Star Trek 4, *headdesk* and that's my favourite TOS movie as well. I think I need to go punish myself for not realising this sooner.