Starring: Fiona Dourif, Brad Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, Maitland McConnell
ALICE – “Chucky, I’m scared.”
CHUCKY – “You fucking should be.”
The success of Bride Of Chucky and its follow-up Seed Of Chucky mean these days Chucky is commonly considered a horror comedy star. Despite this, there still remains a core following of long-time horror fans who have been hoping for years that everyone’s favourite killer doll would return to his roots and appear in another ‘proper’ horror film in the style of the original Child’s Play trilogy.
Curse Of Chucky is that horror film, with nary a dick joke, sex scene or zany sidekick in sight. Although it’s the first Chucky film to go straight-to-video, don’t let that put you off, because this is old-school Chucky doing what he does best – pretending to be a doll while trying to steal a small child’s soul.
Set four years after Seed Of Chucky, Curse begins with a mysterious package turning up at the house of Nica (Fiona Dourif), a wheelchair-bound paraplegic who lives with her mother. Predictably, the package contains Chucky, but Nica’s at a loss as to who would have sent this odd-looking doll. It’s a wonder she’s never heard of Chucky – she should probably get out more. Oh, right, the wheelchair.
Shortly after Chucky’s arrival, Nica’s mother dies gruesomely in the middle of the night. With the death passed off as a horrible accident, Nica’s sister turns up to comfort her. Unfortunately, her version of ‘comforting’ is offering to send Nica to a care home for disabled people so she can sell the house and get rich.
What’s the point of all this pish? Nica’s sister has a young daughter, Alice, who also comes to visit. Nica gives Chucky to Alice as a present and that’s when the story really kicks into motion.
What follows is something that, while not strictly a remake, feels like a retelling of the original Child’s Play. Chucky befriends Alice and tells her who he really is, while the rest of the family refuse to believe her and start dropping off one by one.
It’s a treat to see Chucky in a serious horror role again, and despite the all-out comedy of the previous two films it’s clear no damage has been done to the character’s reputation. There are some properly chilling moments throughout and Chucky does feel scary once again, for the first time since Child’s Play 3 came out 22 years earlier.
Placing all the action in a single house gives the same sense of claustrophobia the original film did. Since all of Nica’s family (Alice aside) are utter cocksticks their inevitable deaths are simultaneously scary and triumphant, keeping the viewer hooked throughout.
It’s also a clever touch making the protagonist wheelchair-bound. Intelligent and independent yet paralysed from the waist down, Nica is the ultimate definition of a vulnerable heroine, one whose spirit is more than willing but whose flesh is woefully weak. To her, merely getting up the stairs when her house’s built-in elevator breaks down is a horrible ordeal, so the typical “why doesn’t she just leave the house” argument is neatly punted against a wall.
It also helps that Fiona Dourif, the actress playing Nica, plays the role perfectly. She’s a strong actress and while some accused the filmmakers of nepotism when she was originally confirmed for the role (she’s the daughter of Brad Dourif, the actor who voices Chucky), her performance dismisses those claims as moot.
There’s plenty of fan service in there for long-time Chucky devotees too. As well as the references to the Andy Barclay story arc in the first three films, there’s a lot of backstory showing what happened to Charles Lee Ray (the serial killer who transferred his soul into the Chucky doll) and the events that led to the police tracking him down at the start of the first film.
The ending is also a huge fanboy moment for fans of Bride Of Chucky, and keep an eye out after the credits for a secret scene that concludes the entire six-film series brilliantly.
In all, Curse Of Chucky is a brilliant comeback for a classic horror character who had seemingly reached a dead end. It flicks a plastic middle finger to those who didn’t think Chucky could be scary anymore and is a brilliant way to tie up loose ends. Obviously I’d love to see more Chucky films in the future but given how long it took to get this one greenlit, if this is how the series will ultimately conclude, I’m satisfied with that.
HOW CAN I SEE IT?
Curse Of Chucky was just released on DVD and Blu-ray. You can get the UK DVD here and the UK Blu-ray here (they’re both surprisingly dirt cheap), or get the US DVD and the US Blu-ray here.
If you fancy catching up on the series as a whole, there’s a brilliant box set called Chucky: The Complete Collection which was just recently released in America. It’s region-free, so Brits can import it from Amazon US. Here’s the Blu-ray box set and here’s the DVD box set.
Did you enjoy this review? There are 100 more just like it in That Was A Bit Mental: Volume 1, the first TWABM ebook. Get it today!
I’ve now reviewed every film in the Child’s Play series. Here’s a complete Child’s Play series overview, with reviews of all six films.