Child's Play (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Child's Play1988

Child's Play (1988)



Critic Consensus: Child's Play occasionally stumbles across its tonal tightrope of comedy and horror, but its genuinely creepy monster and some deft direction by Tom Holland makes this chiller stand out on the shelf.

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Movie Info

Child's Play seems to have been concocted by a parent who went berserk after standing in line for hours on end to purchase a Cabbage Patch doll in the early 1980s. The film opens with serial killer Brad Dourif taking refuge in a doll factory. Dourif is killed by the cops, but not before he has invoked a voodoo curse which transfers his soul into one of the dolls. That particular doll, nicknamed Chuckie, is unwittingly purchased by Catherine Hicks for her son Alex Vincent. Several murders occur shortly thereafter; all evidence points to Alex, who insists that his cherub-faced doll is responsible. Detective Chris Sarandon, the man responsible for Dourif's death, doesn't swallow Alex's story, but he agrees to investigate because he's sweet on Alex's mom. The slasher-flick ending of Child's Play would seem to have settled Chuckie's hash for good and all, but guess again--the film spawned numerous sequels.

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Catherine Hicks
as Karen Barclay
Chris Sarandon
as Mike Norris
Brad Dourif
as Charles Lee Ray
Dinah Manoff
as Maggie Peterson
Alex Vincent
as Andy Barclay
Tommy Swerdlow
as Jack Santos
Jack Colvin
as Dr. Ardmore
Edan Gross
as Friendly Chucky/Kid in Animated Commercial
Alan Wilder
as Mr. Criswell
Raymond Oliver
as Dr. Death
Ted Liss
as George
Michael Chavez
as Bellevue Patient
John Franklin
as Walkabout Chucky
Michael Patrick Carter
as Kid in Animated Commercial
Ed Gale
as Chucky
Neil Giuntoli
as Eddie Caputo
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News & Interviews for Child's Play

Critic Reviews for Child's Play

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (12)

A rip-roaring low-budget screamer.

May 14, 2020 | Full Review…

The filmmakers seem more than aware of the logical and dramatic deficiencies of their material, and so they flee to that last refuge of movie scoundrels: self-conscious campiness.

May 14, 2020 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Scary, yet darkly funny, this thriller of the supernatural from the director of the terrific "Fright Night" moves with the speed of a bullet train and with style to burn.

May 14, 2020 | Full Review…

The sequences without Chucky are as stock as they come, and so are all the flesh-and-blood characters around him, but he's still a hugely entertaining mischief-maker, and what he lacks in physical gifts, he compensates for in sneakiness.

May 13, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Making a good horror-thriller, or even a good horror-comedy, is not child's play, as this schizoid film all too unfortunately proves.

November 2, 2014 | Full Review…

It's nothing wildly original, but it is pacey and entertaining when it gets going.

October 21, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Child's Play

Child's Play is one of the cheesiest horror flicks of the 80's, but damn does it know how to entertain. With laughably original dialogue, some decent acting, a twisted doll, and a possessed plot line, Child's Play is just a fun movie. I was a bit disappointed and I did expect to actually be scared, but the film is far too cheesy to be a classic. Yes, it is known as a horror classic, and I can see how, but the fact that I can laugh during it, definitely makes it not worthy of calling great. It has it's thrills and chills, and when it does it's pretty freaky, but overall, Child's Play is just well made above average film.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


I must be a bit twisted - I love this one, it always makes me laugh. Just can't take Chucky seriously. It is a really good horror, though.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Child's play follows a young boy named Andy who obtains a "Good Guy" doll for Christmas from his mom and discovers that this doll he got for Christmas may be doing things that are causing suspicion in the household after the murder of his aunt. Child's play is one of those movies that the acting is nowhere near perfect in a horror movie such as in "Psycho," but I would come to expect worse from a movie involving a doll that kills people But overall the best performance, like in most slasher films, is the slasher in general, Brad Dourif as Chucky. Dourif does a magnificent job at making Chucky both a hysterical character and even a tad creepy character. The other actors do decent jobs as well. The child who plays Danny does a good job and Catherine Hicks does a decent job as well as Danny's mother who's trying to cope with all this chaos going on. Chris Sarandon does a exceptionally good job, which you may remember Sarandon from Fright Night and Nightmare before Christmas. Overall, decently acted but nothing spectacular. Child's play is pretty light on effects for a horror movie but when that doll comes to life the effects actually look pretty decent, and by that I mean two levels up from a Muppet. The effects do look cheesy compared to the movies now but the effects make the film enjoyable and at least pleasing to sit through and even after the doll is burned up the effect looks pretty good, especially when parts of him start coming off. Even if it was meant to be scary or not. Overall Child's play may not be one of the best horror movies I've seen and it definitely is goofy compared to a lot of other horror movies at the time, but it does a decent job at setting up the story early on and the acting is pretty good for a movie with this goofy of a premise. While this film does fail bad at trying to be scary it at least is enjoyable and entertaining for any fan of these kind of films. So overall I'd give this movie a watch if you have the time for a cheesy but enjoyable film, even if it isn't that scary.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

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