Curse of Chucky (2013)
“Chucky, I’m scared…”
“Heh heh heh heh… you f**king should be…”
Okay, so here’s one that took me by surprise. Because quite frankly, I’d given up on the CHILD’S PLAY franchise halfway through the second movie. Now, I dug the first one, because let’s face it, killer doll horror movies pretty much sell themselves: objects that are human-like, but not quite; objects that are small and can hide and scurry in places that we can’t see or reach; objects that can kill and appear ordinary and innocent afterwards. What child hasn’t looked around at the dolls (or action figures, if you’re afraid of being seen as less than the manliest of men, even if you’re six) in their bedroom, and wonder what they get up to in the dark?
(Not me, I always chopped the heads and burned the bodies of mine as soon as I got them. Did the same to my sister’s. And the neighbours’ toys. And the neighbours themselves. Hah hah! I kid!
Or do I?)
Anyway, the first CHILD’S PLAY was decent enough at the time, a high-energy version of the old ventriloquist dummy movies I remember from childhood. And the plot was simple: serial killer Charles Lee “Chucky” Ray (Brad Dourif), while dying, uses self-taught voodoo to inject his soul into a Good Guys doll, and thereafter has to try and repeat the process with the first person he revealed his true self to, in this case a young boy named Andy (Alex Vincent), or find himself trapped forever in this hideous piece of distended plastic (or Cher, as she used to call herself).
Now, as I said, the first movie was decent enough at the time. But then my interest dropped halfway through the second one and I never finished it. And I’ve never seen the rest: CHILD’S PLAY 3 (which would have gone straight into obscurity in the UK at the time if not for tabloid frenzy over a spurious plot resemblance to a real-life child murder at the time), BRIDE OF CHUCKY (which introduced Jennifer Tilly into the mix, which after seeing her in BOUND should have spurred me into watching it, but somehow didn’t), SEED OF CHUCKY…
What I’d seen and read of the franchise told me that it had gone down a lame comedy route. No thanks. I’m glad that Brad Dourif was making regular beer money, though, because I like him. Don Mancini, the creator of the Chucky character, is a screenwriter, producer and film director, has kept the film franchise going (and is one of the few openly gay men in the horror movie business, so kudos to him on that score), and in addition to writing all of the screenplays, has also directed the sixth and latest entry, CURSE OF CHUCKY, which looks like a reboot and is almost a decent horror movie in its own right.
I said “almost”.
CURSE OF CHUCKY opens on the huge Southern Gothic-style home of paraplegic woman Nica (Fiona Dourif, and yes she’s the daughter of the aforementioned Brad Dourif, and no, she did not inherit her Dad’s looks, thankfully, just his talent) and her alcoholic mother Sarah (Chantal Quesnel, BRUISER), who of course smothers her disabled adult daughter with overprotectiveness. A big package arrives at their door, an unmarked box containing… yes, you guessed it, a Good Guy Doll (although this doll has a clean, unmarked face, and as far as I was aware the possessed Chucky doll in the previous movies was all scarred and stuff. Without any prior knowledge as to what was going to happen in this, I was beginning to think that this might be a total reboot of the franchise). Sarah throws Chucky into the garbage. Later, Nica discovers her mother’s body, as blood pours extensively from it, and the doll is seen sitting on a chair nearby, and the credits roll literally around him as we watch the police and other authorities arrive to deal with the body…
(Now, credit where credit’s due, Mancini proves to have a deft hand at making this seem like neo film-noir, using shadows and other Expressionistic tricks, so if he wants to give up writing about this killer doll and go full into directing atmospheric horror or detective movies, he could do worse).
After the credits, the remainder of Nica’s family arrive for the funeral the next day (the death being treated as a suicide): her older sister, the aptly-named Barb (Danielle Bisutti, INSIDIOUS 2), the designated Domineering Bitch; Barb’s husband Ian (Brenna Elliott, FLIGHT 93), their daughter Alice (Summer H Howell), and their live-in Hot Nanny Jill (Maitland McConnell). Also along for a visit and to up the body count is Father Frank (A Martinez), who remembers something vague from the news about Chucky and the Good Guy doll, but can’t recall it. Thanks, Father, much appreciated.
Barb amps up the Bitch attitude, suggesting that they sell the house and move Nica into assisted accommodations, being mean to Alice (who now has Chucky as her own BFF), and shooting dirty looks at Jill the Hot Nanny. Unbeknownst to them all, Chucky has secretly slipped some rat poison into the chilli Nica has prepared for them (or it only went into Father Frank’s). He leaves early, feeling disoriented, as a thunderstorm approaches – and later we cut to an accident scene, where his head is pinned at the throat by the roof of his car. The firefighters, at the urging of the local police, free him – and his head rolls off. Nice one, guys, remind me not to call you if I get my dick caught in my zipper.
Back at the house, while watching old home movies, Nica notices one guy in the background, identified as a neighbour: Charles Lee Ray – Chucky! Coincidence? Of course not!
What follows is a fairly decent story, as we see secret affairs, double crosses, and finally murders, as Chucky proceeds to lock up little Alice and go after the rest of the household, while a storm keeps cutting off the power and phones, and Nica, learning the truth about Chucky’s long murderous history dating back to the first movie, trying to get others to believe that the harmless-looking doll is really dangerous.
(Personally, looking at the bastard, I’d stomp it to death even if no one had warned me).
CURSE OF CHUCKY bypassed the theatres, which is a shame as it could be considered a decent reboot of the franchise, throwing aside the jokey camp elements of the last few movies. There are moments of blood and gore, though naturally not enough (not that this series seemed to be on the blood heavy side anyway) and utter character stupidity, and it’s refreshing to see a protagonist who’s disabled (and Fiona Dourif acquits herself well). Although the good will Don Mancini built up until now gets derailed at the end, as we’re given not one, not two, but three endings (including one post-credits – what the hell is this?) of differing tones. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but there’s a plot point involving recorded footage from a hidden camera that, if everyone hadn’t forgotten about it, would have saved one of the characters from an unfortunate series of events.
But what the hell, there’s worse stuff out there.
CURSE OF CHUCKY debuted via VOD on 24 September, and will be followed by a DVD and Blu-Ray release in the US on 8 October. Watch the trailer below:
Director: Don Mancini
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 3 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Deggsy. The D is silent. Silent as the gravy. I like gravy.