Well, as I predicted, the Child’s Play formula overstayed its welcome. Child’s Play 3 is easily my least favorite of the trilogy. Everything about this film feels tired. It’s the same old basic plot. Chucky (Brad Dourif) finds Andy (Justin Whalin)—this time, at a military academy. Chucky tries to either kill him or take someone’s body—this time, Chucky goes after Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers), one of the other boys at the academy. Nobody believes Andy when he warns them of Chucky’s danger. People slowly start dying, with Andy looking like the most logical culprit. Eventually, things hit a climax as Chucky reveals himself and tries to transfer his soul to another body. Yawn.
Sure, Child’s Play 3 isn’t a carbon copy of the other films. For one, the locale is wildly different. I mean, military academies aren’t known for their inviting, familial nature. The problem is that Kent Military Academy is as generic as could be, filled to the brim with painfully generic stock characters. To be fair, most of the characters in the Child’s Play franchise have been archetypal. But man, the other students at this military academy check off every trope in the book. And it’s just so dull.
Too much time is spent away from the Andy/Chucky storyline, resulting in both characters feeling like watered-down versions of their former selves. Brad Dourif remains delightful as the voice of Chucky, and Justin Whalin does a respectable job as this older version of Andy. It’s just that neither of them are given much to work with, so they’re unable to make much of a splash. It’s a shame because I think there’s a lot that can be mined from an older Andy’s relationship with Chucky. But, alas, no such luck. And with all of the other characters having next-to-no development, there’s nothing to get emotionally invested in.
So, in the absence of any emotional stakes, it’s up to the film’s action and kills to pick up the slack. And they very much do not. This film’s pacing is bizarre. There’s an extended, slow-paced opening sequence where Chucky kills an executive at the Good Guy toy company. But it just goes on forever. Andy doesn’t even appear until nearly twenty minutes into the film. And the momentum never manages to pick up from there, either. The film is just a collection of starts and stops. Chucky will do something interesting, and then everything will grind to a halt again for ten minutes. Lather, rinse, repeat until the film reaches its (fairly fun) climax. But even the climax is merely a less effective rehash of previous films’ climaxes. Not even the kills could save this movie. Half of them are barely kills (or they’re not done by Chucky). Most of the ones that are actually interesting happen off-screen or aren’t executed as over-the-top as you’d like. The one exception is the film’s climax, but to say any more would be too spoilery. So, if the film’s not paced well and the kills are dull, what’s the point?
Saying I didn’t like Child’s Play 3 feels like an understatement. I don’t want to hate on the film, though, because there are good parts. The actors do the best with what they’re given. Some of the dialogue is fun. The music is as tense as ever. And the practical VFX and puppetry on the Chucky doll are still fantastic. The problem is simply that the film feels tired. It’s just retreading old ground and is missing the spark of creativity found in the first two films. The pacing’s bad, the plot’s repetitive, and the kills are lame. I know there’s some discourse about the quality of Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, but I gotta be honest. I’m really looking forward to the series going in a new direction. A new tone would be a breath of fresh air.
2 out of 5 wands.