Now a staggering 25 years old, the Child’s Play franchise has been remarkably consistent over the course of its six movies. Having had a gap of nine years since we last spent time with Chucky, I was intrigued as to the approach that Don Mancini would be inclined to take, and also the level of freshness and ingenuity a new Child’s Play movie could muster.
The film opens with Nica (Fiona Dourif), wheelchair bound she is confined to sharing a home with her mother, Sarah (Chantal Quesnelle). A delivery to Sarah finds a box that contains our fabled hero Chucky, and before you can say Tiffany, Nica discovers her poor mother that evening apparently the victim or her own suicide. As the rest of the family descend upon the house to assist with the funeral arrangements, we discover some hidden agendas are afoot lead by her overbearing sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) who is determined to sell the familial home to ease her own financial status.
Meanwhile, the re-appearance of Chucky has caught the eye of Nica’s niece Alice (Summer Howell), and she immediately falls in love with him much to the annoyance of Nica who obviously still associates Chucky with her mother’s untimely death. It’s not long however before our loveable rusty haired doll is creating havoc in the only way he knows how, and in typical fashion all the adults are very cynical that any of these sinister incidents can be caused by a two foot good guy doll.
It took me a full 24 hours to summon the confidence to put Curse of Chucky into my DVD player such was the apprehension of what it would be like. With Don Mancini in control of his baby though, I shouldn’t have doubted him for a second. Chucky fans are in for a real treat with a slew of knowing references to the other films and an appearance in the flesh from Brad Dourif as the notorious killer Charles Lee Ray. As a new chapter though, Mancini is able to create some great and complex characters thanks largely to the films (largely) one location setting. I really loved this aspect as it created a lightning infused ‘old dark house’ atmosphere with slasher movie sensibilities. Add Chucky to the mix and what we have is a very simple idea giving a quarter of a century old franchise originality and credibility.
People may mourn the reduction in the comedic side of the movie that gave the series a different slant from Bride of Chucky onwards, but I feel that Curse got the balance just right. Whilst I still hold Bride and Seed in high regard, I feel that these movies owe it to themselves to be as scary as hell – and that’s just what Curse of Chucky is.
8 out of 10