A single mother gifts a lifelike doll to her son for his birthday, unaware the toy houses a notorious serial killer’s consciousness.
Chris Sarandon plays the Chicago cop with a shaky accent who believes he killed the aforementioned serial killer. Out for revenge, the doll attacks Sarandon in his car. The seamless combination of human and animatronic shots that bring the doll to life on screen hold up well today.
Indeed the production values prove top-notch. Great location photography and I appreciated the subtle use of red noses and visible breath to sell the harsh Chicago winter. And this movie blows up two buildings.
But I struggled with the kid. From his haircut to clothes, he resembles Danny from The Shining. But instead of an adorable moppet, I found him cloying. The script gives him the self-preservation skills of a lemming, and his performance doesn’t help. When he runs, it’s not away from danger but toward his mark.
I also struggled with the finale. After establishing the need to shoot the doll through the heart, the mother dismembers the doll with bullets. She proves accurate enough to hit everything but the chest—the biggest target. Also, the adults leave the kid alone with the presumed dead doll. Twice.
Followed by Child’s Play 2.