Monday, January 20, 2014

Curse of Chucky

One franchise that had come close to dying out, but was hanging on for dear life, was the ever loving story of Chucky from the Child 's Play films.  Sometime after the second sequel (Child's Play 3), filmmakers decided to drop the moniker and just use Chucky’s name in the title for the next two sequels (Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky). I don’t know if that was a bold move of the producers or if they had no choice due to copyright issues now that the franchise belonged to Universal Studios (although I think they had acquired the rights after the first movie), but in all aspects Chucky is the killer doll of all killer dolls.

Bride of Chucky was a nice comedic take on the character, as horrible as the doll still was as a serial killer, and it worked somehow. However, when they followed it up with Seed of Chucky, it seemed to be its downfall and death. Rumors started making its way on the internet about a remake being on the horizon and it seemed like that would be the best thing for it. The concept of that last sequel was so stupid, trying to go the way with the Blair Witch Project sequel, and bringing the dolls into the real world while having all the past Chucky hijinks exposed as only movies within this new movie.
So the future looked bleak for Chucky, with even talks about how Brad Dourif wouldn’t be the voice of the new doll that they’ll be featuring—and no doubt be changed—in the remake. All seemed hopeless.

In comes original writer and director of Child’s Play, Don Mancini, letting the world know he’s going to be making another sequel to the original movie, all while the remake is still going forth. As I was feeling intrigued, I was also pessimistic that anything would come of it. I felt the original was lightning in a bottle and I highly doubted this planned new film would be any good. Add to that, Universal Studios announces the film would be going straight to home media, with no theatrical release at all.

Curse of Chucky felt doomed from the start.

Well, the day finally arrived where the Blu-Ray was released and I decided to give this film a go. Being a completest, I decided to go ahead and buy it; I figured it couldn’t be worse than Seed, so I might as well own it with the rest of the franchise.

After watching this film—and even while watching it—the word that fell from my lips was "wow."

The film opens with Sarah (Chantal Quesnelle) and her wheelchair-confined daughter, Nica (Fiona Dourif, daughter of Brad Dourif), living alone in some desolate large house. Sarah seems to be coping with some problems from the past, but dealing with it through her art. One day, a large package shows up for Sarah and it turns out to be a retro "Good Guy" doll. No return address or letter accompanies the parcel and they both have no idea who sent it. As Nica wheels off, Sarah tosses the
doll in the garbage, forgetting about it. However, that night, Nica hears her mother scream and when she comes out of her room to investigate, she finds her mother on the floor, dead, appearing to have jumped to her death from the second floor. Soon after, Nica’s older sister—with her husband, daughter, daughter’s nanny and family pastor—show up to pay condolences and to try and talk Nica into going to an assisted living facility. Unwilling to go, Nica, says she can take care of herself and refuses to leave. They all stay for the night, save for the pastor, and one by one, get mysteriously picked off until Nica is faced with a dark secret by none other than Chucky!

Curse of Chucky is definitely the movie going back to its original roots, with the mystery and eerie ambience of the original film. It’s definitely a slow burn, but that’s what us older people loved about the horror movies from the 80s, and that’s what’s sadly lacking in today’s horror movies. It’s just too much to have a monster being revealed right off the bat and so much CGI that you get frazzled with too many special effects all over the screen. We definitely needed a film like this where we get good character development and understand everyone’s motivation, yet leave enough hidden for a good twist at the end.

Although most of the performances were mediocre, what really stood out was Fiona’s performance. Her being cast in this film definitely wasn’t a case of nepotism; she earned her place in this movie. The set took precedent as well, adding the mood needed for this film. Not only that, but the look of it made sense, seeing that Sarah was an artist, showing in the character of the house.

Two thoughts went around in my head as I watched this flick. One was about how this film went back to the seriousness from the first film and how it went the way of the horror story, giving up the comedic take it had previously took. The other thought in my head: Why the hell didn’t Universal Studios release this as a theatrical film?! I’m sure it was a studio exec—or a few of them—who thought he or she knew what would fare well in theaters and didn’t think it’d be worth the effort or wouldn’t make any money or whatever idiotic thoughts these officials think they know about filmmaking.

Anyway, my final "bit" on Curse of Chucky is that I had a lot of fun with it. However, as good as it is, I still have to nitpick. During the film, the story flashes back to a time when Charles Lee Ray is still alive and they have Brad Dourif play the part. As good as Dourif has aged in the 25 years since the first film, no amount of makeup is going to have him—at 63 years old—pass as a 38-year-old (his age in 1988). The wig looked ridiculous and the whole scene is a little off-putting. Add to that, they try to mesh the new scenes together with the opening scene in Child’s Play, which was awesome to include in the story, but you need to suspend disbelief, big time, here.

With that little bit of nitpicking aside, the story is definitely a worthy sequel to Bride of Chucky and you’ll thank me if you decide to see this or even purchase it for your home media library. I know I was glad I did. As a small side note, stick around until after the credits for a little two minute scene.

Thanks for reading and I welcome any comment!

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