Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the horror feature CULT OF CHUCKY by writer/director Don Mancini. To best describe the story, I will turn to a modified version of the IMDB plot summary:
“Chucky returns to terrorize his human victim Nica and also enlists the help of his former wife to settle some old scores.”
A bit of background before we begin: I have seen every movie in the Child’s Play series. I absolutely love Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, Bride of Chucky, and Curse of Chucky; I feel indifferent about Child’s Play 3; and I was pretty disappointed in Seed of Chucky so I went into this hoping it would be a strong entry. Read on to see what I thought.
The opening of this was rather interesting as they brought everyone’s favorite victim, Andy Barclay, back into the fold. Giving us a taste of what he has been up to since Child’s Play 3 was a great idea that paid off dividends, especially with all the little nods towards the previous installments. As interested as I was in rejoining Nica’s story, which does happen, I was probably more intrigued with Andy’s since he has been absent for three chapters.
When we do come into Nica’s story, we get to the real meat of the narrative as we see our heroine from Curse of Chucky mentally broken. This is one of the first times in the series where we have really had to see the psychological ramifications of someone claiming that they were not a killer, but a doll had killed everyone. The therapy sessions combined with the asylum setting made the first half of this movie absolutely fantastic as we not only have the isolation that has worked well for the Chucky franchise in the past, but we also have some actual depth at play.
Sadly, the second half becomes more of a horror/comedy which removes the weight that was present at the beginning. While I may not have enjoyed this aspect as much as the psychological trappings, I have to admit that having Brad Dourif reference One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest did manage to make me chuckle. The biggest issue I had with the humor was that it was not really all that present at the beginning, so when it came into play it pretty clearly divided this movie into the dramatic portion versus the funny portion.
Without giving too much away, I also thought that in this picture they gave Chucky too much power. When they reveal exactly what is happening I thought to myself, “Well, what’s the point anymore?” Though one can argue that our favorite killer doll has never been defeated (I mean, he does keep coming back) there have always been certain constraints on his power. By the end of this one, his influence is so great and seemingly unstoppable that I have no idea where they plan on taking things going forward.
All in all, the first half of this was absolutely stellar, but the second half did not work as well for me. While I enjoyed the various things done for the fans (also, stick through the credits people), by the end Chucky just gained too much power for my liking. Fans of the Child’s Play series should check this out as it nicely unites the films of the past with those of the present.
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