02nd Oct2013

Grimmfest 2013 Review: ‘Curse of Chucky’

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif, A. Martinez, Danielle Bisutti, Maitland McConnell, Brennan Elliott, Chantal Quesnelle | Written and Directed by Don Mancini

COChucky-1

It’s been twenty-five years since Charles Lee Ray first possessed a Good Guy doll in a Chicago toy store whilst on the run from the cops and in that time we’ve had a further four Child’s Play movies – the last almost ten years ago (has it really been that long?) – each of which has successively watered down the creepy tale of Chucky, taking the series from its tongue-in-cheek slasher beginnings to a mocking parody of its very own franchise. Thankfully Curse of Chucky, from series creator Don Mancini, returns to the “fun and fear” formula which made the original film such a success.

This time round we’re introduced to wheelchair-bound Nica who one day receives an anonymous present – an unusual-looking, red-haired doll who is immediately thrown into the trash by Nica’s over-bearing mother. Of course this being the sixth film in the franchise we all no that’s a mistake! And Nica’s mother pays for it big time… In traditional “Old Dark House” or “Ten Little Indians” style plotting, Nica is reunited in grief with her bitch of a sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti), brother-in-law Ian (Brennan Elliott), the nanny-come-lesbian-love-interest (Maitland McConnell) and Barb’s little girl, Alice (Summer Howell), in Nica’s dilapidated home – along with total psycho that is the killer-doll Chucky.

Made specifically for the DTV market, Curse of Chucky has all the hallmarks of a low-budget production – a small cast; limited locales; as well as some rather dodgy CG used to animate old Chucky’s face. I’d like to think that Don Mancini realised that the series had no where to go in its “current” laugh-riot state and so returned it to its horror roots but given the films low budget I’m guessing it was a lot easier to make an all-out horror flick – low-light and all – and keep Chucky off-screen for as much as possible. However in all honesty none of that matters when you have a film that is a much fun as this…

What also helps Mancini’s film is the cast – which for this movie is somewhat of a family affair, as Brad Dourif’s daughter Fiona takes the lead as the wheelchair bound Nica, alongside Dourif himself who returns as the voice of Chucky and can also be seen in a few flashback scenes.

Speaking of flashbacks, those who are long-time fans of the series will be pleased to discover that Curse of Chucky doesn’t deny any of the previous films in the series – instead it plays with fans’ preconceptions of just where this sixth film fits into the grand scheme of the franchise, whilst adding some much-needed back story to the tale of Charles Lee Ray – bringing the series full-circle and to somewhat of a conclusion (well as much of a conclusion as the epilogue will allow).

Curse of Chucky is a worthy sequel that will please fans of the original trilogy and at the same time breathes new life into the franchise when everyone thought it was dead in the water. A cracking send-off for the Child’s Play series, just make sure to stick with the film “…till the end” for the superb fan-pleasing post-credits scene!

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