Well, it seems like we’ll never really be rid of everyone’s favorite mass-murdering doll, Chucky. In this sequel to the 1988 horror “classic,” Chucky (Brad Dourif, reprising the role), is mysteriously mailed to Sarah (Chantal Quesnelle) and her daughter Nica (Fiona Dourif; Brad Dourif’s daughter). Things hit the ground running when Nica is woken up in the middle of the night by her mother’s screams and goes downstairs to find she’s been killed. Sarah’s death sparks the assembly of Nica’s other family members: her sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti), Barb’s husband Ian (Brennan Elliott), their child Alice (Summer Howell), and live-in Nanny Jill (Maitland McConnell). They’re accompanied by a priest (A Martinez), and set the stage for the horror movie antics to follow.
I can’t remember which of the Chucky movies I’ve seen so far. I’m not entirely positive I’ve even seen the original Child’s Play, but know I’ve seen Bride of Chucky, and Seed of Chucky, and as far as campy terrible horror movies go, they tend to be fun. Curse of Chucky on the other hand is disappointingly boring. I don’t expect every horror movie to reinvent the wheel, but this film plays on some fairly basic and borderline clichéd horror movie tropes that have become completely ineffective for shocking an audience. First of all, setting the film in an old Victorian mansion with an ancient caged elevator and bad electricity is right out of the horror movies for beginners playbook. The setting does nothing to aid the plot of the movie and only serves to remind us we’re watching a bad horror movie.
Second, the film insists on trying to build tension through extreme close-ups and melodramatic gestures, only to reveal that there’s nothing at all menacing or dangerous around the corner. Horror movies traditionally do this to convince their audience that everything is safe, so when something scary does finally happen, it’s shocking. Nothing in Curse of Chucky is shocking. Well, there is one thing, but it has nothing to do with the horror aspect of the film; just a refreshing twist on what would otherwise be a tired and boring relationship. No, I doubt anyone watching this who is at all familiar with the horror genre will have any difficulty seeing the shock moments coming.
Third, the deaths are all really implausible and over-the-top, with an ending that makes no sense at all, only to be followed by another ending that makes less sense.
The final thing I want to mention is that all of the Chucky effects are done practically, with animatronics and puppetry. It’s nearly impossible to take this doll seriously as our villain when you have to see how fake his movements are. I don’t understand why the filmmakers didn’t explore other ways of making the doll move. A CGI Chucky, who could actually run and jump and be a force to be feared throughout the film would have been really effective I think, but I guess they just couldn’t get the budget for that.
Special features include both the rated and unrated versions of the film, deleted scenes, gag reel, feature commentary, and behind the scenes featurettes. Available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures.