Child’s Play 3 a Franchise Low Point For Chucky

No, the Child’s Play franchise isn’t as successful as Friday the 13th, Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street. Yet its history might be more interesting. And Don Mancini’s creation has shown remarkable longevity. Following a ‘so so’ remake, Mancini got a new series off the ground last year that’s actually pretty damn good. With a second season of Chucky just around the corner now might be a good time to revisit the series entry that triggered an eventual course correction – Child’s Play 3. After a surprisingly decent first sequel, Child’s Play 3 proved to be unremarkable. Eventually Mancini detoured the tone of the series with Bride of Chucky, but before that, we had this critical dud.


Several years have passed since Andy Barclay destroyed Chucky in the Play Pals factory. After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Andy finds himself stuck at the Kent Military school. Now the Play Pays company has inexplicably decided to bring the Good Guys doll line back. But when Chucky’s blood inadvertently mixes into boiling plastic materials, the killer doll returns with a vengeance.

Child’s Play 3 Plays Out Like a Rote 90s Thriller

Oh, the 80s and early 90s were simpler times. Today, audiences are consumed with continuity, Easter eggs, and franchise canon. Back in 1991, horror franchises didn’t worry too much about how sequels developed canon or logical continuity. For Child’s Play 3, the creative decision to move the action to a military school was more than enough to justify bringing Chucky back. And the sequel’s change of scenery pretty much represents the movie’s high point. Otherwise what you get is pretty much a standard 90s horror movie and/or sequel. In fact, one could make a good case that Child’s Play 3 perfectly represents the early 90s horror movie.

nd the sequel’s change of scenery pretty much represents the movie’s high point.

Director Jack Bender isn’t entirely to blame – the Motion Picture Association of America spent the latter half of the 80s neutering theatrical horror releases. While the Child’s Play series was never defined by graphic gore like other slashers, this sequel is pretty middle-of-the-road stuff. Most of the violence is carefully edited to keep the rating in check ensuring that the sequel is pretty tame stuff. While slasher movies don’t necessarily need the kind of gore that defined the early 80s, Bender doesn’t have the chops to compensate. Though it’s well paced and produced, Child’s Play 3 lacks anything remotely resembling suspense, tension, or scares. Don’t even expect the occasional jump scare. This is a paint-by-numbers effort from start to finish.

Child’s Play 3 Benefits From Another Fun Brad Dourif Performance

Arguably, the biggest problem plaguing Child’s Play 3 is the rote screenplay. This is a completely familiar and predictable horror movie that may feel like comfort food to die hard fans and contrived to everyone else. Poor Andy Barclay learns Chucky is back. Does everyone think he’s crazy? Yes. Bad things start to happen at the Kent Military School. Do people blame Andy? Of course they do. By and large, Child’s Play 3 operates as a standard 90s thriller. Expect few surprises – even the finale struggles to distinguish itself. Nothing about this sequel is awful, but there’s certainly nothing that sets it apart. Everything about it feels perfunctory.

By and large, Child’s Play 3 operates as a standard 90s thriller.

Fortunately, Child’s Play 3 still has Brad Dourif voicing Chucky. If there’s one thing Child’s Play fans expect and want it’s cheesy one-liners, which this sequel delivers on in heavy doses. If it’s a bland sequel, at least Dourif seems to still be having fun. And he’s easily the best part of this sequel. While Child’s Play fans may disagree, Justin Whalin is actually quite good as a teenage Andy Barclay. He brings some charisma to a role limited by convention. It would have been nice to have a bit more of Perrey Reeves in the movie as her character feels like a refreshing addition to the cast. At least 80s horror fans can get excited for a small supporting role from Hellraiser’s Andrew Robinson.

Child’s Play 3 Finds the Franchise in Dire Need of a New Direction

On one hand, Child’s Play 3 is a perfectly watchable sequel that’s mostly inoffensive (for a slasher movie). Neither memorably good nor painfully awful, the sequel dutifully checks off the boxes. Contrary to what series purists might, Justin Whalin actually acquits himself quite well replacing Alex Vincent as ‘Andy Barclay’. Still if Universal Pictures thought the military school setting was the update the franchise needed, they sorely missed the point. As part of one of horror’s more interesting series, Child’s Play 3 represents something of a low point. Today, the sequel is more endemic of what was wrong with horror in the early 90s than anything else.

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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