Child’s Play


About a year ago I started watching the odd horror film here and there. As a lifelong wimp, it wasn’t a genre I had much time for. In fact, I was terrified by the thought of just being in the same room as a horror DVD, as if the maleficence contained within would somehow leak out and manifest its self in my room.

But a lot of my friends are massive horror fans, and I have always felt like I was missing out on something. So, as a compromise to my meek heart, I started watching them – but only in the daytime.

Today I watched Child’s Play, a film that I have avoided like the plague. This film taps into something I really can’t deal with – innocence twisted appallingly by something supernatural. DOLLS COMING ALIVE – JUST NO! The fact that during the 90s it was always one of the Video Nasties, linked inextricably to disturbing real life events, only added to its spine-chilling mystic.

I love that the film plays with the notion that our fears are just “plastic and stuffing”, that all those things your parents said about there being nothing under the bed were lies. Even something sweet, that appears to offer nothing but love and friendship, can turn on you like a whip.

But the idea was really the only thing about the film that set the hairs on my skin flapping. Its fair to say, that though the animatronics are still pretty impressive, the film has really dated. I know enough about jump scares to have anticipated all of them, the dialogue was cheesy and I spent most of the film trying not to laugh at what was basically a film about actors trying to shake a ginger-haired doll off themselves. The fact Chucky speaks with a hammy, villain voice seemed like a misstep – surely having the doll say all that stuff in the same voice as the Good Guys cartoon character would have been far creepier?

I was expecting more things twitching in the corner of my eye, but once we learn the secret of the doll, his actions come out the screen at full pelt – there wasn’t any of the subtle, crawling horror I was anticipating. The scene where Karen is looking through the doll’s box for example – Chucky is sat, out of focus, behind her – I was waiting for him to move, just a little, a small head jerk or something, just enough to turn the blood cold – but nothing.  That seems like such a weird omission to me.

And, this probably isn’t a good thing, as it hints at desensitization, but it lacked gore for me! Not something I ever thought I would say, but there is more bone crunching and winces induced by almost ALL popular drama these days. I was expecting to need to look away more – I don’t think I did once. But then, I guess the star of the show is only really tall enough to keep inflicting shin wounds.

I’m glad I’ve watched it as all the pent-up nerves I had about it have now gone forever and it was kinda cool to watch a film that clocked in at just about an hour and half. But other than that it really left little impression on me.