Directed by Sidney Lumet [Other horror films: N/A]
It’s been quite a long while since I’ve been blown away by a movie. Child’s Play isn’t amazing, and to be 100% honest, calling it a horror film may not be entirely accurate, but it is a movie that has an insanely heavy amount of creeping tension, and it’s not an experience I can describe easily.
In fact, it reminds me of films like The Wicker Man and Don’t Deliver Us from Evil. There’s an oppressive atmosphere that permeates the whole film, and the tension here just builds and builds (though arguably, it doesn’t necessarily lead to anything). The final scene still carries that tension wonderfully, and you want to see what happens next.
This was truly a nerve-wracking experience. I think the reason for that is it’s based on a play written by Robert Marasco. If you don’t know the name, I wouldn’t be surprised, but because I’m a large fan of the film Burnt Offerings, I know Marasco wrote the novel Burnt Offerings is based on. And like Burnt Offerings, which has a deep sense of uneasiness throughout the film, Child’s Play has the exact same thing.
Plot-wise, some ideas aren’t fully answered or explained, and there’s a bit of an open-ended conclusion here. I would have liked a little more input from some of the student characters, as most of the film focuses around the faculty of a Catholic school, but even with a few issues like this, it doesn’t change how striking the film is.
The cast is amazing. There’s really only three central performances, those of Robert Preston, Beau Bridges, and James Mason, and all three are absolutely amazing. Bridges is the most generic of the bunch, but that’s only because Mason and Preston are Gods among men. They put a lot into this movie, and it just makes the whole thing great. Smaller parts played by Ron Weyand and David Rounds (who plays character I quite appreciated) compliment the central actors nicely.
I need more time to fully digest this one. It’s rare I see a movie as unique as this, and though it’s definitely not a movie for everyone, I do think the experience is worth it. It’s not a fun movie at all; it’s a somber, oppressive mystery filled with a lot of drama and the trials of being a teacher, but it’s still an experience worth having.