Eight years after the bizarre and somewhat tired Seed of Chucky, creator Don Mancini delivers the sixth entry in the Child’s Play franchise. The film picks up in the present day and seems to ignore the last two entries (more on that later). The Chucky doll arrives at the house where the paraplegic Nica (played by Fiona Dourif) lives with her mother Sarah. Sarah’s death at the hands of Chucky is seemingly a suicide and the rest of Nica’s family shows up to make funeral arrangements. What follows is Chucky’s signature brand of chaos, as well as a deepening backstory.
I’m a fan of the Child’s Play films. The first one is an iconic horror film and the second is a worthy sequel. While the franchise lost some steam in the third movie, it got a brilliant 90s face-lift with Bride of Chucky. While I didn’t fall in love with Seed of Chucky the same way I’d fallen in love with Bride, I was intrigued to see what Curse would have to offer. After all, Mancini was still involved, Brad Dourif had reprised his role as maniacal doll voice, and plans to remake the original were scrapped in favor of making this film.
So does it measure up?
Curse of Chucky is, essentially, two films. The first half builds slowly and almost seems to operate under the assumption that this film will have a new generation of viewers, unfamiliar with the iconic series. In many ways, it feels like a reboot, in that no one on screen knows much about Chucky save for a character’s vague reference to Good Guy Dolls in the 80s. This was a wise choice on the part of the filmmakers because it does two things. One, by introducing the elements slowly it provides a sense of intrigue for new viewers and gives the film a freshness not seen since Bride of Chucky infused the franchise with nu-metal and Scream-flavored self-awareness. Two, it keeps fans who know what’s coming on the edge of their seats anticipating the second half.
And what a second half it is! Chucky serves up the carnage we’ve come to know and love from him. While I can’t speak for the R-rated version, the unrated cut of the film pulls no punches. It’s tense and expertly paced, revealing new ideas about the history of the character, while never stopping the action.
The only real gripes with the film are its multiple endings. There were at least three times it could have ended and been an effective film. While I did appreciate the SPOILER WARNING nods to Bride by having Jennifer Tilly make a surprise appearance END SPOILER, I also recognized that it was kind of unnecessary and doesn’t really add much to the film.
The writer’s indecisive approach to ending the film aside, there was much in Curse of Chucky to love, especially for fans.