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Child’s Play 3 (1991)
As with any series of horror films that runs long enough, there comes a point where shifting the protagonist becomes necessary. Andy Barclay (here played by Justin Whalin) is still the central figure of his tale but the innovation of this film is that Chucky, through a creative loophole, finds a new target body to try and take over.
As is the case with many later-on sequels in horror series, you have to further suspend disbelief than is even normally required just to stick with things. There’s a few examples of that: the fact that Chucky, melted and virtually dead, is recycled by the factory and fashioned into a new toy; or the fact that the company both would restart the Good Guys line after the bad publicity and changes in the marketplace; and, lastly, that they would have Andy Barclay’s whereabouts on file. As if corporate spies would keep tabs on a person that closely, a person they were now vowing to forget as they reintroduced the toy.
One course correction this film has is the reintroduction of a strong, relatable female character. As Andy is now remanded to a military academy, he meets De Silva (Perrey Reeves) who becomes one of his closest allies. The new target of Chucky’s quest for a human body is Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers) a younger boy closer to the age Andy was in the first film.
Two things become readily apparent as the series progresses: first, the comedy element is always there, so unlike Freddy there’s no real unfortunate shift in the character but rather one in focus it would seem. The series is always stronger when a toy is targeting a child, in the next installment, and likely in the final one (to date) that focus is lost and cartoonishness finally rules.
What occurs in this installment is that the first kill of any kind takes a while so it does build suspense. There are some unsavory types running the school so it makes those creative kills rather enjoyable, and through the events there is revealed to those close to Andy that what he’s saying about the doll is true so the insanity plotline, as strong as it is to establish his world, is less necessary here.
The film is not without missteps, like Chucky laying low until lipstick is applied then suddenly war is on. The change of venue to the amusement park is nearly without purpose save visual interest, and there are other awkward moments and imperfections, however, fewer of those come out in the characters where we’re supposed to draw identification, so it works better than the previous film for sure.