Notable Cast: Fiona Douriff, Brad Douriff, Danielle Bisutti, Brennan Elliot
Now that I've worked my way through the modern era of the "Child's Play" franchise in my reviews for "Bride Of Chucky" and "Seed Of Chucky," it's only fitting that for this Blood-tober marathon I sat with the latest entry of the series "Curse Of Chucky." Say what you will about the previous two entries, but I was a little excited when director/writer Don Mancini announced his plans to take the franchise back to its horror roots. While I enjoyed the humor of the last two, this "reboot" for the franchise needed to happen. So it brings me great pleasure to say that "Curse" is handedly the best sequel since "2" and perhaps my second favorite of the series.
What my biggest "fear" was going into "Curse Of Chucky" was that it was going to be a film that was a singular entity or a film that didn't actually reference other entries. On the contrary, as a fan of the series, I was ecstatic as the film not only referenced every previous entry in one way or another, but it actually built on the canon of the myth by throwing in some clever scripting motivations. See, our heroine Nica (played with relative strength by Fiona Douriff - the real life daughter of Chucky himself, Brad Douriff) and her mother receive a mysterious package one day. In this package rests a Good Guy doll named Chucky. The next morning Nica's mother is found dead from what looks to be a "suicide" which leads to a slew of Nica's family to come visit...including her overbearing sister and her family. Little do they know that Chucky has had this all planned out...and that this family has a connection to his past with a few scores to settle.
While the concept is fairly mundane and one that we've seen before in this series, Chucky arrives and he sneakily starts to knock off the family he's infiltrating, the return to the horror roots works because its been far too long for fans to see Chucky has a threatening and often sinister role instead of the cartoon character he has become previously. Don Mancini seems confident in establishing the tension of "who's next" and "how" of the slasher elements by adding in some solid atmosphere (with a creepy and often suffocating house as the setting) and letting the mystery build from there.
From those building blocks, Mancini seems intent to keep the film slightly off kilter with so awkward familial moments (done with a solid enough cast...even if some of them seem a bit gimmicky like our live-in nanny) and a solid "background" story that comes as a twist in the latter half of the film. If you think I'm going to spoil the fun of the last third of this film. Guess again. What I will say is that not only does the film reference the other entries in effective and fun ways, but it builds on them too establishing a new formula for future entries. In fact, it's the twists that come in the last 15 minutes of the film - and after the credits - that make this film a sure fan treat.
As for the slasher elements on hand, it's back to the basics. Simplistic kills that are built on tension with a few red herrings thrown around to keep viewers on their toes. Once again the MVP of the film is Brad Douriff as the voice of Chucky who delivers again and again. I also appreciated that Mancini and company pulled back from the one liners a bit. They still exist, but they are played for sinister and disturbing instead of laughs which fits in line with the entire 'return to the roots' concept better.
I know a few folks will probably miss the over the top humor and ridiculousness that the franchise had embraced in the last few entries, but "Curse Of Chucky" was exactly what this franchise needed to breathe fresh, but familiar, life into it. It's not a perfect film, but it's definitely one of the best that "Child's Play" has had to offer in decades and fans of the franchise are sure to soak themselves in it.
Written By Matt Reifschneider