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Curse of Chucky Review
Welcome Back, Chuck!
It has been nine years since Seed of Chucky was released. We've been without the psychotic killer Good Guy doll ever since. Well, series creator Don Mancini has resurrected the franchise and brought Chucky back to scare a new generation. This time, Chucky is back to his roots, killing and scaring on his own. No Bride or Seed to get in the way. This is Chucky doing what Chucky does best. But how great is this return?
A Not So Good of a Guy
The film opens with us meeting Nica(Fiona Dourif), a wheelchair bound woman living at home with her mother. Unexpectedly, they receive a large package. Upon opening it, Nica discovers a Good Guy doll calling himself Chucky. That night, Nica's mother dies causing the rest of Nica's family to descend upon the manor.
Nica's sister Barb(Danielle Bisutti) is really not a good human being. She is interested in the money to be made by selling the house. So much so, she even tries to convince Nica to go to an assisted living home.Barb's husband Ian(Brennan Elliott) is really a stereotype in and of himself. He is a lazy guy that never quite believes anything, even if he sees it. He's the type of character you actually want to see get killed. Jill(Maitland McConnell) is the highly overpaid baby sister of Barb's daughter Alice and has more of a physical presence in one of the parents life. Nica quickly gives Alice the Chucky doll as a way to cheer her up from losing her grandmother and that is when the fun truly begins.
The movie quickly goes into a great dinner scene. We've seen that Chucky has put rat poison in one bowl of chili, but we don't know which one. As the scene drags on, it's teased that any member of the family has the killer bowl. It's a great moment in the film and the suspense is never greater. Quickly, Nica becomes suspicious of how and why this doll arrived at her house. When it seems to be moving on its own, she starts to do her own research. Meanwhile, Chucky is just getting started with killing off these people one by one.
Jill get an especially shocking ending to her time in the house. Chucky is brutal and still humorous. It's great to see that Chucky maintained the dark comedy aspect that made his so great without being to slap-sticky as was the downfall of Bride and Seed. Nica soon discovers the truth about Charles Lee Ray and his soul swapping final act to inhabit the doll. Of course, no one believes her until it's too late for them.
The final showdown between Chucky and Nica is a great battle. Given that Nica is in a wheelchair, the creative side of the Mancini had to come out to make the fight exciting while limited in what Nica could do. Chucky reveals the origin of his attacks on her family. While I won't spoil it, it finally fleshes out some of Charles Lee Ray's background. A background that has had little to no exploration. Charles Lee Ray may be even more twisted as a human than he is a doll.
The movie wraps up with tons of fan service following the climax. There is a great cameo that tie's in the franchise to the latter films and following the end credits there is another great cameo to wrap up a loose end of the early films. Be sure to stick around the whole time.
Stars Shine and Atmosphere Prevails
Fiona Dourif is great as Nica. She really flourishes in the role and you feel sympathy towards her. That is something we didn't feel for anyone in the past two Chucky films. The rest of the actors did suitable in their cliched characters, basically amounting to body count for Chucky.
Brad Dourif once again returns to voice Chucky. He is one point as usual. His voice sounds great and the maniacal laugh is still incredible. The best part of all this is we get a little more of Dourif as Charles Lee Ray. He has had very little time to actually portray this character throughout the series, so seeing the human side was great. Dourif is a wonderful actor and seeing him in the flesh was great.
The movie has an uncomfortable setting about it. The manor is uneasy and doesn't ever feel homely. The beautiful architecture of the house allows for shadows to be cast at perfect spots delivering visual scares. There are also a lot of colors from blue light to green light during the evening scenes. This gives the film a very Suspiria-like feel to it. The Italian Giallo atmosphere is present through most of the film which actually gives some weight to making this film stand out from the others.
The Chucky doll itself has been somewhat redesigned. For most of the film, Chucky is polished and clean. This causes a bit of confusion as to when this film takes place in the series. This film does indeed follow Seed of Chucky and that film is in fact canon to the franchise. The movie has several clever tricks up it's sleeve to keep you on your guard. The Chucky doll looks good, but some of the CGI effects on the doll can be jarring when it changes from animated to practical in the same scene.
Chucky Doesn't Play
The gore in the film isn't as explicit as it has been in past films. There is one scene in particular where the violence is in your face, but for the most part it is rather tame. Even the Unrated version isn't all that intense. The blood doesn't splash like we've seen. This isn't exactly a bad thing; the movie doesn't rely on gore to get its scares.
I can't exactly say that this film is terrifying, but it is a nice return to where the franchise began. Chucky has never been truly frightening, but he has had a creepy factor about him. He isn't the friendly, wise-cracking doll you watched him become on screen in the later two films. He is foul-mouthed psychopath that you want to see die. You aren't cheering for Chucky anymore. He has returned to being a bad guy, and a bad guy you really hate. But perhaps most of this is due to Nica being a final girl you really want to see survive.
Do You Wanna Play?
The final verdict on Curse of Chucky is that it's actually a really fun movie. It's much better than Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky. In fact, I would put this film with Child's Play and Child's Play 2 as the only worthy films in the franchise to be held in regard. Chucky doesn't screw around and he is back to his old self. With the ending of this film, there is the potential for the series to continue or be wrapped up. There may be a few minor gripes viewers will have if everything in all six films is taken into context, but it's a fun time watching Chucky work his knife. A fun Friday night fright flick to watch with your friends. Especially if one of your friends is afraid of dolls.