Child’s Play is a near-miss at providing horrific thrills in a tale [by Don Mancini] of a doll come to murderous life, told with a knowing tongue-in-cheek attitude. Fun withers in stretching the thin material to feature length.
Director Tom Holland summons impressive technical skill in charting the preposterous story of a nutcase (Brad Dourif) who climaxes a fatal shootout in a Chicago toystore with cop Chris Sarandon by chanting a voodoo incantation and passing his spirit into a cute, red-headed doll.
Next plot device also is hard to swallow as nice mom Catherine Hicks makes a last-minute buy of the doll from a grubby street peddler for her cute son Alex Vincent. The possessed doll, named Chucky, kills Alex’ babysitter Dinah Manoff and who else but Sarandon is the detective on the case. Violence and paranoia escalate.
Both Hicks and Sarandon commendably keep straight faces during these outlandish proceedings. Top technical contributions milk the doll gimmick for all it’s worth.