In Defense Of: “Child’s Play 2” (1990)

Child's Play 2 (1990)

It’s a far cry from the modest showdown in the Barclay apartment that closed out the first film. Instead, it’s over the top in a great way that features Chucky losing an arm only to replace it with a metal blade, surviving having multiple limbs attached to part of his body, getting melted down and, finally, blown up via an air tube in his mouth.

It’s all gleefully absurd, a dynamic finale that outshines the original in every way, and even sees Chucky actually succeeding in getting Andy alone to possess him only to have the rug pulled out from under him by the simple fact it took too long to make happen, his one goal’s failure giving way to pure rage as he decides to just kill Andy instead.

And before you know it, the movie is over, in and out in just enough time to keep from overstaying its welcome. It doesn’t really try to build out the world or the mythology of the franchise like some of the later films would try to, but that’s something that works in its favor. It’s merely a second round for the Andy/Chucky conflict, a streamlined rematch whose lean, mean narrative focus allowed Child’s Play to find its footing as a franchise.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

It takes much of what worked about the first film, like the dynamic between Andy and Chucky, as well as the latter’s sense of humor and vulgarity, and bumps it up with more screentime for Chucky, all while wisely avoiding trying to recapture the sense of mystery that fueled the first film in order to just go nuts.

It’s not without faults – Agutter painfully overacts, for instance – but it’s such an efficient, entertaining sequel overall that the nitpicks are easily outweighed by the positives, like how Kyle’s character nicely subverts “angsty teen” expectations as a positive influence for Andy, the multitude of sight gags and darkly funny deaths, or the simple fact the film features a great sequence in which Chucky buries the body of a Good Guy doll named Tommy, assumes his identity and nearly forgets his new name when forced to recite it to keep from blowing his cover.

As with the slasher subgenre (or horror in general), Child’s Play 2 isn’t for everyone, which is understandable, but its importance in solidifying who Chucky is and what the franchise would become is something that can’t be overlooked, standing as a solid sequel that effortlessly straddles the line between horror and comedy without losing itself to one and sacrificing the other in a way that – in my opinion, of course – makes it the quintessential Chucky movie around which all other films in the franchise swirl.