This might be controversial, but I enjoyed Child’s Play 2 more than I enjoyed the first film. Yes, it’s an obvious rehash of Child’s Play, but without the need for tons of exposition, the movie simply gets right to all of the good stuff, resulting in a more dynamic, fast-paced film. This time around, it’s two years after the Chucky doll’s first murder spree, and Andy’s been bouncing around the foster system after his mother was institutionalized for standing by Andy and his stories about Chucky. As the film begins, Andy is taken in by a foster family, only for a re-awakened Chucky to quickly find him and resume his reign of terror. The rest of the film plays out similarly to the original Child’s Play: Chucky terrorizes Andy and his (foster) family, nobody believes Andy about Chucky, and a trail of carnage leads to an explosive climax.
This is one of those times where I don’t really care that most of the plot is recycled from another film. With these kinds of horror films, there’s something to be said about the idea of not fixing something that’s not broken. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to see eight films that played out exactly like the first Child’s Play, but it’s definitely fun watching Child’s Play 2 be everything the first film wanted to be now that it’s free of the shackles of exposition. The first Child’s Play is more of a thriller than a slasher, with much of the film being built around trying to figure out what, exactly, is going on rather than relishing in Chucky’s grotesque kills. Child’s Play 2, however, embraces its horror wholeheartedly. It wastes no time getting to the action, with a pretty gruesome kill happening in the first ten minutes. There’s very little exposition; Mancini and Lafia simply assume the audience knows what’s going on. Instead, the film just establishes its new location and characters as quickly as possible and then proceeds with the formula as expected. The new characters don’t get much in the way of development, save for Andy’s foster sister, Kyle (Christine Elise McCarthy), who’s an immediate delight and plays well off of Alex Vincent. But it doesn’t really matter since you know what their fate is from the moment you see them. This isn’t the kind of film you watch for its character work; it’s the kind of film you watch for its action and thrills. And it’s got quite a lot of them.
Everything about this film is turned up to an eleven. Andy and Chucky’s relationship is far tenser here than in the first film. Andy knows what Chucky wants and what he can do, and so there’s an immediate urge to convince people that Chucky’s a threat. Which makes the adults’ reluctance to believe Andy all the more tragic. The kills here are nastier—both visually and spiritually. They’re never Saw levels of gross, or anything, but they’re frequently more creative than those in the first film. Chucky is meaner here than he is in the first film, though not yet as funny as he’ll grow to be. Still, he’s such an engaging villain to follow and it’s easily apparent why he ends up being the central figure of the franchise. Honestly, everything about this movie just worked for me. It may not be as unique as the original film was, but I honestly think it’s more fun. I wouldn’t want the series to continue to follow this formula, though, as I feel it’s probably hit its peak with this film. But, since I know the series breaks the formula with Bride of Chucky, I’m not bothered by a little repetition at first. It’s a fun, easy-to-watch film that gave me exactly what I wanted. So, what’s to complain about?
4.5 out of 5 wands.