It’s hard to keep a Good Guy doll down. Writer/director Don Mancini brings his pint-sized killer back to the screen one more time in the 2013 horror flick “Curse of Chucky.” Instead of following in the over-the-top footsteps of “Bride of Chucky” and “Seed of Chucky,” Mancini decided to dial the humor down a notch for the little guy’s latest adventure. What you get is an incredibly enjoyable yet somewhat flawed sequel that should please fans of the franchise.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right away: I’m not sure what’s up with Chucky’s face. There’s a sequence later in the film that attempts to explore his peculiar appearance, but some of the inconsistencies throughout the film are downright bizarre. Maybe I missed something along the way, but it often feels as though two different FX houses were tasked with bringing the character to life. Sometimes it’s downright distracting, especially when he finally starts talking. Again, maybe there’s a detail that escaped my attention.
For example: The Chucky that Alice (Summer H. Howell) initially discovers in the bathroom doesn’t look anything like the one that she carries around the house. And the doll she talks to in her bedroom looks significant different than the one creeping around the final 30 minutes of the movie. If you can get past these issues, “Curse of Chucky” actually has a lot to offer. Of course, it’s understandable if the special effects rub you the wrong way.
Instead of going for laughs, Mancini opts for tension, suspense, and a dash of gore. Here’s the setup: After her mother unexpectedly passes away, wheelchair-bound Nica (Fiona Dourif) is left all alone in a big house with a strange Good Guy doll named Chucky. The murderous toy is presented with a plethora of prey once Nica’s sister shows up to help out with the house. As the family settles in for a good night’s sleep, Chucky decides it’s time to settle an old score. After the killing starts, the film finds its groove.
After slogging through the goofy shenanigans found in the past two sequels, “Curse of Chucky” feels like a breath of fresh air. While the character still relies on one-liners to make the murders a little less shocking, it’s not as in-your-face as “Bride” or “Seed.” This definitely works in the flick’s favor. It’s an old-fashioned slasher that attempts to give an old icon a new lease on life. It’s fun, but it’s not the balls-out comeback the doll deserves. That said, it’s better than the stuff Jason, Freddy, and Michael are starring in these days.
Don Mancini clearly loves Chucky. There’s never a moment in “Curse of Chucky” where the character feels compromised or tweaked for mainstream appeal. This is old-school “Child’s Play,” and it’s an entertaining ride from start to finish. Unfortunately, the odd character design is often too distracting and the script isn’t exactly built on a foundation of fresh ideas. However, horror fans who just want to see Chucky doing his thing for 90 minutes certainly won’t be disappointed with this endeavor. The movie might feel a little dated, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Then again, this could be the nostalgia talking.
Don Mancini (director) / Don Mancini (screenplay)
CAST: Brad Dourif … Chucky / Charles Lee Ray
Fiona Dourif … Nica
Summer H. Howell … Alice
Danielle Bisutti … Barb
Brennan Elliot … Ian
A Martinez … Father Frank
Maitland McConnell … Jill