The new Child's Play remake hits theaters June 21. The long-running horror franchise has spanned multiple decades, featuring much of the same cast and crew from film to film. With the review embargo on the new Chucky film lifted one day before the film's release, it has taken some time to figure out the definitive ranking of the series, as ranked by critical response.
However, to commemorate the decades-spanning horror franchise, we present this comprehensive ranking of every single Child's Play film, from the 1988 original to Cult of Chucky to the 2019 remake. Keep in mind that this ranking is just the average of professional critical reviews. Only official critical scores will be averaged together -- specifically, the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores, which will be averaged together.
Child's Play 3 - Average Score: 28
It may come as a surprise that Child's Play 3 is regarded as the worst film in the franchise. Many fans argue that Seed of Chucky was the film that almost killed the franchise. Still, this sequel, which came out a year after its predecessor, put the series on ice for seven years! So, yeah, this series really did come back from the dead twice over.
Critics hated this film. David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews dismissed the film as "a disjointed, increasingly tedious effort that has little to offer even the most ardent Chucky fan." Even the positive reviews read like back-handed compliments. Clint Morris from Moviehole, one of the few positive reviews of the film, claimed that the Child's Play franchise was "running out of steam by this second sequel, but  will still please fans."
Child's Play 2 - Average Score: 35.5
Many fans of the franchise regard Child's Play 2 as one of the best entries in the series. The film has a 7.8 user score on Metacritic, after all. However, critics hated the film upon release, calling it a regurgitation of what had been done better in the first Child's Play film.
Time Out wrote in its review: "Only in the highly orchestrated, surprisingly gory climax, wherein Chucky's plastic form takes on the sins of the flesh, is there a spark of originality." The film, again, had some defenders, such as Richard Harrington from the Washington Post, who wrote that Child's Play 2 was "an inevitable sequel that's not as good as its progenitor, but better than most movies with the numbers 2 through 8 in their titles."
Seed of Chucky - Average Score: 39.5
Many long-time fans of the franchise do not like Seed of Chucky. The audience score for this film is abysmal. Many credit this film for almost killing the franchise, as it would be almost a decade before another Child's Play film was released. However, on release, many critics determined the film was just average. Critics were far less critical of this film going in.
Yes, there are plenty of negative reviews for Seed of Chucky. Anita Gates of the New York Times wrote: "There is not a single scary moment in all of Seed of Chucky, so its laughs are welcome, though most of the humor falls flat." But the film did have defenders, most of whom praised it for being similar in tone and style to its predecessor, Bride of Chucky. Johnny Butane from Dread Central wrote in his review: "Seed of Chucky is still a great follow-up to Bride and a very cool horror/comedy on it's own."
Bride of Chucky- Average Score: 47
Bride of Chucky changed the franchise. It embraced self-referential humor in the wake of Wes Craven's Scream. After the critical mauling that the third film received, the franchise needed a stylistic revival. And, thankfully, it worked. Critics liked Bride of Chucky better than the last two films, even if audiences were less warm to it (Rotten Tomatoes' audience score sits at 46%).
Some critics enjoyed how Bride of Chucky brought the franchise into the late '90s, such as Jeffrey M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid, who wrote, "Hong Kong action director Ronny Yu...brings a slick, kinetic, cartoonish energy to the proceedings." Others were less positive, such as David Nusair from Reel Films Reviews, who wrote that Bride of Chucky "feels more like a parody of these movies than a natural extension of the world established in part one."
Child's Play (2019) - Average Score: 59.5
This may come as a shock, but the remake of Child's Play, the eighth film in the franchise, is better reviewed than most of the films in the franchise. Critics have responded fairly positively to the film. While the fan response has yet to be determined, the Child's Play remake ranks fairly highly in the franchise so far. It currently sits at 71% on Rotten Tomatoes and 48 on Metacritic.
Elizabeth Weitzman of TheWrap writes: "The movie's biggest strength is its balance between mordant humor and psychological fear. Everyone's focus seems to be in a very old-fashioned place, and here that's an asset." But not everyone is so positive. Ben Kenigsberg from the New York Times criticized the film by writing: "In trying to build a smarter Chucky, the filmmakers have assembled something unfathomably dumb."
Child's Play (1988) - Average Score: 62.5
It might be surprising, but the original and most beloved entry in the Child's Play series just barely cracked the top three. Audience reviews for this one establish it as a classic (Rotten Tomatoes' audience reviews give it a 63% and Metacritic places it at 8.1). However, it ranks on Rotten Tomatoes with a 67%. It's the only theatrical Chucky film with a fresh score.
The original classic did get a few negative reviews upon release, such as one from Dennis Fischer from the Hollywood Reporter, who said: "Making a good horror-thriller, or even a good horror-comedy, is not child's play, as this schizoid film all too unfortunately proves." On the other hand, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who notoriously criticized slasher films throughout the '80s, loved it. Ebert wrote, "Child's Play is a cheerfully energetic horror film of the slam-bang school, but slicker and more clever than most."
Curse of Chucky - Average Score: 67.5
Curse of Chucky brought the franchise back to its horror roots after Seed of Chucky's disappointing returns. Like Bride of Chucky before it, Curse of Chucky reinterpreted the franchise to help it rise up in a new era of horror. While fans received this sixth film warmly, critics... also seemed to like it.
This film and its sequel, though, as a straight-to-video movie, didn't receive the number of reviews the earlier films in the franchise did (or, for that matter, the remake). Still, those who did see it generally enjoyed every second of it. John DeFore of the Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Series woos fans by returning to its straight-horror roots." David Nusair of Reel Films Reviews states: "It's clear immediately that Curse of Chucky marks an effort to return to the more-horrific-than-comedic atmosphere of the series' first installment..."
Cult of Chucky - Average Score: 73
This direct-to-video sequel continues the story of Child's Play by bringing together tons of characters and plot points throughout the series lore into one, neat package. It may come across as a surprise that this love letter to the fans who embraced the often critically mauled franchise is the highest ranking film in the franchise.
However, many critics loved how the seventh film reveled in its silliness and over-the-top nature. Forbes' Scott Mendelson stated in his review that "Cult of Chucky is either the Final Chapter or a New Beginning. Either way, this most tenacious of horror franchises can walk on with its head held high." Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film by writing: "A lean 91 minutes long, Cult of Chucky is part self-spoofing slasher, part lowbrow bloodbath and all guilty pleasure."