A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While Andy and his protective mother are ostensibly admirable characters, the mechanics of the plot depict most of the adult world as domineering and threatening, with authority figures (like a psychologist) who refuse to believe Andy and put the innocent lad in even greater harm's way.
Positive Role Models
No positive role models. The adult characters are basically two-dimensional archetypes.
Violence & Scariness
(Warning: Some spoilers.) An unusually low body count relative to other horror movies (and later movies in the Chucky franchise), but Chucky still attacks and maims with a knife, a bat, even his teeth. Woman attacked with a hammer by Chucky before falling four stories to her death. Chucky turns on the gas in the dilapidated two-flat where his former partner in crime is hiding out, resulting in a deadly explosion. One character shot to death, another electrocuted until his face becomes hideously charred. Voodoo magic breaks limbs. Reckless driving resulting in an accident.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Once the serial killer begins to fully inhabit the doll, the profanity starts to fly. "F--k" used a few times. "S--t," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "damn," "bastard." Andy, age 6, tells his mother that Chucky told him, referring to his recently murdered aunt, that "the bitch got what she deserved."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
There are "Chucky" action figures and costumes for sale.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character smokes, and there's a brief visit to a boozy Skid Row neighborhood.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Child's Play is a 1988 horror movie in which a doll possessed by a recently-deceased serial killer goes after a little boy and those around him. There are a few killings, the violence mostly of an unreal horror-movie variety (an electrocution victim gets charred and bloody, like hamburger). A woman is stabbed in the forehead with the claw side of a hammer, which sends her falling backwards and then falling four stories to her death. Besides this, Chucky attacks by strangulation, with a knife, a scalpel, and by turning on the gas of the rundown apartment building occupied by his former partner in crime, resulting in a large explosion that destroys the building. Some profanity, especially when the doll becomes more fully possessed by the serial killer -- "f--k" used a few times. Jump scares throughout. One of the lead characters, a police detective, is usually shown smoking a cigarette. Some kids do have fears about dolls coming to life -- Poltergeist exploited this phobia superbly -- and younger kids will most likely be scared by visuals of a vicious killer doll (though when the diminutive Chucky hurls himself at victims, older kids will probably be able to laugh it off). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While the premise of an evil toy has built-in appeal for youthful horror addicts, very little of this movie is easy to take seriously. From its over-the-top '80s-action beginning to its Terminator -like conclusion, you'll be amazed the actors managed to keep from giggling. Some decent moments early on evoke much sympathy for unfairly accused Andy, and there are particularly effective shudders when the script just allows our fear to do all the work envisioning an ambulatory, killer doll at large. Brief glimpses of the small, scuttling figure around corners, quick cuts to Chucky's head barely moving -- suggestions like that are unexpectedly creepy.
But when the filmmakers finally unleash the full f/x, with Chucky snarling, swearing, biting, knifing, and flinging himself bodily at grown-ups, laughter is the gut reaction, and a parade of sequels ultimately degenerated into comedy, at least getting the inherent stupidity of the whole premise out in the open. Fans might claim to find a touch of social commentary in the ancillary detail that the Good Guy doll is supposed to be (like Tickle Me Elmo and XBoxes in past years) one of those in-demand Christmas gifts that cue shopper frenzies to buy them (as parodied in the non-horror Jingle All the Way). But if this was meant as any sort of slam against toy-industry overcommercialization, sorry; Child's Play missed that boat.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.