Thursday, July 28, 2016

Child's Play 3


Starring: Justin Whalin, Jeremy Sylvers, Perrey Reeves, Travis Fine, Dakin Matthews

Rated R for Horror Violence and Language

Ah, the slasher movie.  I admit that I smile to myself when I see all the familiar conventions: the false start before the scare, the cheap shocks, the camera that inches closer to the next unfortunate victim.  The "Chucky" franchise has always been reliable for a decent 90 minutes of cheap scares, but it's also worthy for it's black comedy.  Chucky, voiced as usual by the always deranged Brad Dourif, always has plenty of profane one-liners to throw about.  On that level, you really can't say no to this movie.

After the events in the first two massacres, the company behind the Good Guy dolls decides to put the infamous toy back on the market.  By accident, Charles Lee Ray, aka Chucky (Dourif), is resurrected and seeks to find Andy (Whalin), whom he needs to return to a human form.  Andy, having been bounced from foster home to foster home, is now enrolling at Kent, a military academy.  There, he's under the watchful eye of Colonel Cochrane (Matthews), who runs the place, and his commander, a nasty brute named Shelton (Fine) who delights in tormenting him.  To make matters worse, Chucky has found a new host: a little kid named Tyler (Sylvers).  Now Andy has to find a way to stop Chucky without getting caught.

Yes, it's Slasher 101.  But the genre has always relied on formula.  What matters are the scares and gore, and they're both here in acceptable quantities.  It's rather generic, but the black comedy (some of which is very funny), tips it over into the 3/4 area.

The acting (never a hallmark of the genre) is adequate, but no better.  Justin Whalin is on the dull side as Andy, but he's good enough to get us on his side.  Perry Reeves is likable as the rebellious girl who falls for him.  And Travis Fine is perfectly nasty as the hardcore but thick-skulled Shelton.  The weak link is Jeremy Sylvers.  Not only is the character dim-witted even by slasher standards, Sylvers isn't an appealing actor.  And Dourif slides easily back into the role of Chucky.

I had reservations about a slasher movie set in a school.  With all the school violence these days, it could have struck the wrong note.  For the most part, it doesn't cross the line, but there are times when the film gets a little uncomfortable.  Teen movies, especially slasher movies, are notorious for using actors in their 20s to play high school students.  Wouldn't the film have changed much if they did the same here?

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