I just got done viewing Curse of Chucky, the sixth installment in the killer doll Child’s Play series. I’ve been equal parts excited and nervous for this release. Reading positive early reviews from well-respected horror blogs and movie websites gave me hope, but I have mixed feelings for part 4, Bride of Chucky and hatre the abysmal fifth film, Seed of Chucky. The last two films went too far in the direction of horror mixed with goofy dark humor. While I am a huge fan of many horror-comedies, it just didn’t work for me…and it should have, being that the murderer is a freakin’ doll. But with the first three films (Child’s Play 1-3) focusing more on the horror side, the tonal switch was too big a change and many of the series’ fans agreed.
Directed by original creator, Don Mancini, Curse of Chucky opens up with our main character Nica (played by Fiona Dourif), a 25 year old, wheelchair bound recluse living with her mother in an old gothic-style house in the middle of nowhere. One day a large box gets delivered. Once opened we see that it’s one of the classic Chucky model “Good Guy” dolls. Neither Nica or her mother Sarah have any idea why someone would send this to them. They place the doll in a chair and go to bed. The next morning Nica discovers her mother’s body lying on the floor and assumes she killed herself. Soon after, her sister Barb, Barb’s husband Ian and their daughter Alice, along with a few others arrive at the house to prepare for the funeral. As the body count rises Nica and Alice start to suspect that maybe Chucky is more than just a doll.
Curse of Chucky does something that few late sequels have done: It successfully takes on an almost completely different tone and style than any of the other films while staying true to the series. Staying primarily at the location of the house, it has a great haunted house vibe for being a slasher film. A small group of people getting killed one by one in an old house during a thunderstorm. It does a lot using $5 million, a budget far smaller than any of the previous films. Like some other horror greats, a small budget allowed them to stay creative without relying on too many special effects and an over-abundance of useless crap. It’s a neat little movie that uses its dark and creepy setting to achieve the best scares since the original Child’s Play. It’s also the goriest of the six films. There are some even great character and set homages to classic films like Rear Window, Wait Until Dark or even Lady in a Cage. *Note the old in-house elevator.
One of the coolest things about this movie is that it successfully works like a sequel and a stand-alone film. It’s completely enjoyable for long-time fans and newcomers to the series. New fans will enjoy the fresh plot and old fans will like how this film ties into the series as a whole, even creating new pieces to the mythology. I’m still not sure how I feel about some of the directions they went in, but I have to praise them for doing something new to make the series come full circle. The ending as a whole could’ve been much better, but stay after the credits for a scene that at least starts to make up for it.
Curse of Chucky has some solid scares, good twists and is one of the better sequels. The dialogue and acting had its up and downs, but not the worst I’ve seen. And the rest of the components made up for it. I can think of at least two scenes in which Chucky himself is genuinely creepy, something I haven’t been able to say about the character since the second film. All in all, a fun horror movie that I really enjoyed and will be adding to my collection on release day.
He’s Chucky and he’s your friend to the end. Hidey-ho, ha ha ha!