Review: Curse of Chucky

Curse of Chucky
7 10

PLOT: Nica is a beautiful woman that is watching her life slip away thanks to an early accident in her childhood that left her a paraplegic. She lives with her unstable mother in a creepy old house and her future doesn’t look all that bright. Of course things look downright tragic when a mysterious “Good Guy” doll shows up on their doorstep. Soon Nica finds herself in a battle to survive against the maniacal Chucky who is ready to slice and dice. “Wanna play?”

REVIEW: Out of all the iconic horror figures the one that surprises me the most is CHUCKY. While CHILD’S PLAY was a terrific little thriller, the many sequels have been a slightly mixed bag of material. Aside from BRIDE OF CHUCKY, the series never really lived up to the first film - even if I am sort of a completest and have every single film, because good or bad I'm kind of a sucker for this little guy. So how could a straight to video sequel to this series add anything new to the franchise? Well, to be honest it doesn’t necessarily, but CURSE OF CHUCKY manages to bring back many of the elements of the first film as well as some of the gruesome fun of BRIDE and SEED OF CHUCKY. Surprisingly, the latest CURSE is a deliciously deadly approach to the little doll that kills.

Wheelchair bound Nica (Fiona Dourif) and her mother (Chantal Quesnelle) lives an isolated existence in an old Gothic mansion. Smartly played by director and CHUCKY vet Don Mancini (he has written or co-written every film, plus handled director duty on SEED OF CHUCKY in addition to this), the mystery of the original film is found in spades here. When the two women receive a mysterious package with a “Good Guy” doll, they brush it off. Yet after a tragic accident, Nica is left alone in the spooky old house that even offers a creaky elevator for the paraplegic heroine. Soon however, her sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) arrives with her family in tow to help support her disabled sister (i.e. Get rid of her so she can sell the house). Of course when that adorable red-headed toy becomes Barb’s daughter’s plaything, things don’t go all that well for this dysfunctional family.

Chucky has returned for a little slaytime with this here family. While the actual look of Chucky seems to change throughout – a reason is given even if it doesn’t quite work – thankfully the return to scary is just what CHUCKY needed. Brad Dourif is back as Chucky/Charles Lee Ray and he clearly hasn’t lost his touch with the foul-mouthed character. The rest of the cast is amiable enough even if the visiting family is far from likable. I especially appreciated Brennan Elliot as Barb’s clueless husband who occasionally gets to strike back against his bitch of a wife. And while Bisutti is gloriously sexy as a cunningly backstabbing sister from hell, she can be annoyingly unlikable – of course maybe that is the point.

However what every good horror movie needs is a sympathetic lead, one that you actually want to root for. Thankfully, Fiona (Brad’s daughter) is really terrific here. The only thing I didn’t buy was the fact that she seemed to have trouble getting a boyfriend - wheelchair or no she is absolutely beautiful and extremely charismatic. She plays all the right notes and emotionally she is a perfect fit against a nasty little doll that has a score to settle. When Chucky eventually attacks, her fight for survival is a believable one thanks to her strong performance.

Mancini and his cinematographer Michael Marshall add some class to this bloody affair. Sure it has the trademark gore thanks to a handful of clever murders, yet the director manages to build suspense in what could have been a stale straight-to-video sequel. Visually speaking this is far more impressive than one would imagine especially when it comes to using reflections in blood or knives or whatever they had on hand. Add to that a number of references to earlier films that fans will be grinning with delight upon discovery.

While this latest installment in the killer doll franchise is better than expected, there are a few misplaced doll parts. With a couple of endings too many, Mancini clearly tried to pack as much as he could into one film which begins to run on a little too long. The momentum suffers slightly as it trips up occasionally during the mid-section of the film. Things lose a little balance when one of the main characters seems to disappear for part of the last half of the film. Where the hell did that little girl go? And as previously mentioned, Chucky’s designs is a little bizarre at times and this will definitely be a tad disconcerting for fans of the series.

With all its flaws, CURSE OF CHUCKY manages to be a solid sequel. In fact, it is certainly one of the better installments in the franchise. Mancini went out of his way here to please fans of his maniacal toy which is obvious from the final act. Yes, the endings are many, but they are worth it especially if you stay for the end credits. This may be nothing more than a low-budget horror sequel, yet it is one that is much better than the straight-to-video label would lead you to believe.

CURSE OF CHUCKY will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on October 8th as well as Digital on September 24th.

Source: JoBlo.com



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