A mere two years later, Child’s Play 2 picks up where its understated, and it should be said, fairly spirited predecessor left off, with the killer ginger doll on the hunt for young Andy (role reprised by Alex Vincent).
Little orphan Andy has been taken in by doll aficionados, the well-meaning Chicagoan foster family Phil and Joanne Simpson. (Is there any more prosaic a name for a dull suburban dad than Phil? It’s a tradition carried on by the stellar and heartfelt ABC comedy, Modern Family.)
It’s in the Simpson homestead that the spirit of the Lakeshore Killer, Charles Lee Ray, still trapped in a freckled doll, pummels his “Hugs to the end” “dollppelgänger” Tommy with a rare porcelain statue.
Why is Chucky back? In addition to the fact that first Child’s Play film grossed $45 million you mean?
Well, in a toy lab, Chucky’s unscrupulous creators at Play Pals have rebuilt him from the ground up to prove there are no manufacturing defects. And thanks to that ever-popular deus ex machina known as lightning, the spirit of Chuck is back to make another buck, asphyxiating the Play Pal CEO’s personal assistant and going on the lam.
The Simpsons are less than thrilled with the ever-unreliable narrator Andy’s claims about a sentient doll and worry if they can look after the psychologically troubled youngster. Naturally, Andy’s troubles at home extend to the classroom, and it’s there that Chucky sets up Andy by drawing profanity on his homework. And later, Chucky wails on poor homeroom teacher Miss Kettlewell with a wooden ruler.
Andy tries to subdue his nemesis doll in the basement with an electric knife, but Chucky is on to him, hooking poor Phil Simpson in the foot and chucking him to the concrete.
Mostly disjointed, Child’s Play 2 does come alive at times, although not frequently enough to match the first one, Tom Holland’s opus.
Overall though, it lacks the quirk, the punch and the novelty of the first film, relying increasingly on the doll’s ever sassy barbs. Still, there’s enough to chew on to justify its existence (and that’s saying something given the state of horror sequels).
*** (out of 5)
[Be sure to check out our Child’s Play podcast]