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  Child's Play 2 Bad Guy Doll
Year: 1990
Director: John Lafia
Stars: Alex Vincent, Jenny Agutter, Gerrit Graham, Christine Elise, Brad Dourif, Grace Zabriskie, Peter Haskell, Beth Grant, Greg Germann, Raymond Singer, Charles Meshack, Stuart Mabray, Matt Roe, Herbie Braha, Don Pugsley
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: There has been a scandal involving the popular line of "Good Guy" dolls where a little boy, Andy (Alex Vincent), claimed one of them, one that he owned, had been possessed by the spirit of a dead serial killer. Not only that, but the doll had been responsible for the deaths of some people, according to Andy anyway, but nobody believes him and his stories are dismissed as the ramblings of a disturbed child. Now he has been separated from his mother, who made the same claims and is under psychological observation and the toy company rebuild the original doll to test it. Big mistake...

Child's Play had been a sizeable hit for a pretty stupid horror movie, and this being the era of the sequel a follow up was swiftly ordered, although not by its first parent company who rejected the possibility on grounds of taste, supposedly. Universal had no such qualms and were financially rewarded with healthy returns on their investment, and in truth Child's Play 2 may have been pretty hackneyed then (and even more hackneyed now), but in many ways it was an improvement, as if screenwriter Don Mancini had accepted that his creation was absurd.

Not as absurd as it would get in Bride of Chucky, but there was certainly a dose of black humour amidst its mechanical set ups and clich├ęs. You can practically guess whether a character will last to the end from the second they appear onscreen, so that Andy's new foster parents, played by slightly slumming cult stars Jenny Agutter and Gerritt Graham, are so patently up for the chop that you will be surprised they last as long as they do. The new mom and dad already have a foster daughter, Kyle (Christine Elise), but she's in her final year of such a situation so is in her mid-to-late teens, which handily for the ending means she can drive.

Vincent is unfortunately one of the least expressive child actors of his day, so his wooden performance does go some way to defusing the tension that director John Lafia does his best to build up. The real stars, as if there were any doubt, are Brad Dourif's voice and Kevin Yagher's design for the villain, a perfect match of menace and comedy with the puppet's face contorting as he makes dubious excuses that "I promise I won't kill anyone else!" or laments women drivers when Kyle attempts to run him over in her car. As ever, he simply wishes to implement his voodoo chants to transfer his soul into Andy's body, and as ever, he is foiled.

Giggles aside, for much of the film we're in standard shocker sequel territory with the killer finding various methods of bumping off the cast members, and Andy's pleas that the doll is behind these incidents fall on deaf ears with predictable results. However, after almost every new character is bumped off, Andy finds an ally in Kyle, who sees first hand what Chucky can do and is forced into helping him in a nicely wry performance. This leads up to a finale where in one of those "only in the movies" twists Chucky ends up stalking Andy and Kyle through the factory where they make the Good Guy toys, and what do you know? This bit is actually really good, with imaginative use of the location and some genuinely decent thrills, making this the best of the more serious initial three films in the series. Music by Graeme Revell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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