Monday, 18 March 2013

Child's Play 2 (1990)

“I hate kids!”
You don’t expect much from a sequel to a delightfully fun, but ultimately daft little horror film like Child’s Play. In fact, this is an extraordinary film, in fact one of the most under rated films out there. It works brilliantly as a silly and pleasingly violent outing for Chucky and his usual fun and games, but at the same time it has a very serious and very heartfelt message about how children are treated in 1990’s America.

If you’ll excuse the cliché, this is a film of two halves. The first half, at first glance, seems to closely parallel the previous film, with little Andy settling into a new foster family as Chucky does his thing. The second half is far more exciting, fast-paced and modern than anything in the first film as Andy and his new sister Kyle battle Chucky in an obstacle-filled toy factory in scenes that would make a first-class 1980’s video game.

Look again, though. Both halves of the film parallel each other in depicting cruelty to children. The film has a lot of harsh words to say about the state of fostering in 1990’s America, mainly from the mouth of Kyle. It is tempting to speculate that the writer speaks from bitter personal childhood experience here. The anger in the script is subtle but palpable. The foster father is at most lukewarm about fostering Andy, but the mother, played, bizarrely, by Jenny Agutter of all people is initially a kind, caring and seemingly perfect parent. But as soon as her husband “accidentally” dies, she suddenly rejects Andy in terms which seem even harsher in the light of her apparent previous affection for him. The teacher is also horrible, but gets her just desserts. Why do I get the feeling that the writer was enacting gleeful revenge?

Enough serious, though. Chucky rules. There are some great and delightfully evil deaths, the best of which is, of course, DEATH ON THE PHOTOCOPIER! Chucky’s never ending deaths are increasingly silly and the perfect conclusion to a sublimely and darkly hilarious bit of horror hokum which buries its seriousness deeply and effectively. Don’t be put off by the serious themes, though. This film is a right good laugh.

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