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Child's Play Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 12+

Dumb-scary horror character plays well for teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this could have gotten a PG-13 rating if it weren't for the F-words. There are a few killings, the violence mostly of an unreal horror-flick variety (an electrocution victim gets charred and bloody, like hamburger). Some kids do have fears about dolls coming to life -- Poltergeist exploited this phobia superbly -- and younger kids might be scared by visuals of a vicious killer doll (though when the diminutive Chucky hurls himself at victims older kids will probably be able to laugh it off). Sequels grew even more bloody and twisted, but also more satirical over time.

  • Families can talk about what parts are scary and what are not. Ever find yourself being afraid of a toy or a doll? Child's Play 3 was a part of the James Bulger murder case in England, in which two boys had allegedly watched the movie before killing a younger boy. The video was blamed in tabloid press for inspiring the murder. Do you think horror movies can incite violence?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: While Andy and his protective mother are ostensibly admirable characters, the mechanics of the plot depict most of the adult world as domineering and threatening, with authority figures (like a psychologist) who refuse to believe Andy and put the innocent lad in even greater harm's way.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: An unusually low body count, but Chucky still attacks and maims with a knife, a bat, even his teeth. One character shot to death, another electrocuted until his face becomes hideously charred. Voodoo magic breaks limbs. Explosions and reckless driving.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false4

    Language: The F-word a few times, the S-word, "S-O-B," a woman called a "slut."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Products are fictitious, but you remember toys (like Teddy Ruxpin) who bear a certain mild resemblance to the Chucky "Good Guy" doll. Yes, there are "Chucky" action figures for sale now.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One character smokes, and there is a brief visit to a boozy Skid Row neighborhood.