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Curse of Chucky (2013), the sequel that makes up for Seed of Chucky

October 30, 2013

MY CALL:  Exactly the kind of sequel we wanted (for a change) and just what the franchise needed!  MOVIES LIKE Curse of Chucky:  The other Chucky movies actually worth watching are Child’s Play (1988) and Child’s Play 2 (1990).  FRANCHISE TIMELINE:  A fellow critic presents an overview (http://jarviscity.com/2013/10/03/curse-of-chucky-explained/) justifying why this story does, in fact, take place after Seed of Chucky (2004).  It is not a standalone film, remake or prequel.

Only minutes into the movie I was already shocked at the production quality.  Immediately evident were some gorgeous efforts on cinematography in the early shots and the acting feels fresh and credible, unlike most stale to stagnant-flavored wooden acting of even “decent quality” horror.  Also slapping me in the face for attention, the camera work is thoughtful and innovative for the first time in the franchise.  This sequel/pseudo-reboot may not hold a candle to Evil Dead (2013) or Carrie (2013), but clearly more love and consideration went into this film than to simply capitalize on horror fans’ fealty with more advanced CGI to supplement the effects.

Nica (Fiona Dourif; True Blood, The Master) is a gorgeous wheelchair-bound young woman living with her mother (Chantal Quesnelle), who is sweet but over-protective to the point of inhibiting Nica’s self-confidence.  They receive a package from an anonymous sender containing…you guessed it: a Good Guy doll!  After her mother is murdered, Nica’s sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti; Insidious 2) brings her daughter (Alice) and nanny (Jill) for the funeral.  Alice quickly falls in love with Chucky and people start to die.

“It’s a doll. What’s the worst that could happen?”

We encounter the same classic tells.  The doll never seems to be where people left it, it appears in strange places, and young Alice makes vague suggestions that Chucky can move on his own (e.g., “He’s hiding”).

Brad Dourif (The Hazing, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Dune) returns to voice the iconic Chucky and his daughter Fiona does a fine job as well.  The only fault I found in the acting was some soap opera star playing an incredibly unconvincing priest and other actors in other minor roles.

The kills were alright.  Nothing special, but still fun.  I’d say the same about the writing.  There were some cheap tactics (e.g., a lesbian adultery scenario) but overall this film was an enjoyable success.

Directed and written (characters) by Don Mancini–who took part in writing all of the Child’s Play franchise installments (1988-2013) and several related short films as well as directing Seed of Chucky (2004)–was limited to a DTDVD release after the understandably subpar performance of Bride of Chucky (1998) and Seed of Chucky (2004).  However, the quality of the present film suggests that the rumored Chucky 7 should find its way to a theatrical release.

Curse of Chucky is tactful and shows restraint.  It’s not until halfway through the film that we hear Chucky’s voice or see him killing onscreen.  After the outlandishly farcical events and pacing of the last two movies, this is just what the franchise needed–a return to its roots!  No more jokes or fooling around; just the sort of plain old-fashioned malevolence that could make homicidal dolls menacing again.

Watch this and enjoy.  The end does a fine job linking the stories of the movies together and you should stay through the credits for one last franchise cameo.

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