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Curse of Chucky (Blu-ray / DVD)

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Curse of Chucky (2013)Starring Fiona Dourif, A Martinez, Danielle Bisutti, Brennan Elliott, Chantal Quesnelle, Brad Dourif

Written and directed by Don Mancini

Distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment


It’s a rare thing to find a direct-to-video sequel to a once-theatrical horror franchise where the creative principals have decided to return in spite of the series’ now smaller budget and scope. Rarer still is it to find such a sequel so very well made that it should’ve been released in theatres anyway, in spite of the original intentions of the studio that bankrolled it. But such is the case with Curse of Chucky, the sixth film in the now 25-year-old Child’s Play saga, which stands as a superior sequel and a damn good film that really should’ve seen more of this nation’s silver screens.

The film opens simply enough, introducing us to Sarah (Quesnelle), a reclusive painter holed up in a Gothic mini mansion with her paraplegic daughter, Nica (Fiona Dourif – yes, Brad’s daughter). The two receive a large package from parts unknown, containing a vintage “Good Guy” doll (yes, it’s Chucky). Before the night’s out, Sarah has kicked the bucket in what seems to be a suicide, leaving Nica behind to prepare the funeral and welcome her incoming family. They are: sister Barb (Bisutti); brother-in-law Ian (Elliot); niece Alice (Howell); nanny Jill (McConnell); and family priest Father Frank (Martinez). The visiting family settles in, each member dealing with their issues concerning one another (tension between the sisters, matters of faith or lack thereof, and a possible infidelity), even as the li’l ginger bastard plots against them right under their noses. Bodies begin to drop as revelations are made concerning Nica’s family and why Chucky seems so intent on killing every last one of them…

For those who had issues with the more darkly comic tone which presented itself in Bride of Chucky (before turning to outright camp with its follow-up Seed of Chucky), consider Curse a return to form. This is probably the franchise’s creepiest entry since the original, full of tension and several setpieces that take full advantage of the villain’s unsettling possibilities. Chucky himself is more menacing this time ‘round as well, with Dourif’s vocal performance foregoing the hammy murderer schtick of the last two entries and tapping into the character’s mean-spirited, utterly evil side not glimpsed since the first three films. Though he doesn’t get much to do in the film’s first two thirds, Dourif proves to be in top form once he’s able to cut loose with his horribly funny one-liners and that iconic maniacal laugh.

Aiding writer/director/Chucky creator Don Mancini’s more subdued, Hitchcockian approach is Michael Marshall’s alternately shadowy and colorful cinematography, which is quite beautiful to behold at times (the design of the lovely yet decaying home that sits at the story’s center should be commended as well, as it’s practically a character in itself). Add to that Evil Dead II and Brotherhood of the Wolf composer Joseph LoDuca’s musical score, which is every bit as playfully malevolent as Chucky himself, and you have a film which is far more technically competent that you would expect from a DTV sequel.

And then there are the performances. There isn’t a weak link here, as everyone delivers strong work, but the real surprise here is Fiona Dourif. Coming off of her appearances in “True Blood” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, Dourif acquits herself of any eye-rolling accusations of nepotism by completely owning this film from her very first appearance. She gives Nica a warmth, strength, and vulnerability that make her one of the very best heroines in the franchise (and one of the better performances in all of genre cinema this year). SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT HERE If the franchise continues on to another installment, and it should, here’s hoping Mancini sees fit to bring Nica and Dourif back. END SPOILER

Though I wouldn’t dare reveal the many fun twists and reveals in the film’s final act, I’ll simply say that, as a longtime fan, I couldn’t have been more thrilled with how Mancini chose to acknowledge the previous installments of the franchise (and yes, I’m a fan of both Bride and Seed). In these days of remakes, reboots, and rehashes, leave it to Chucky’s creator to figure out a way to revitalize and reintroduce the character for a new generation, without shrugging off the decades of continuity that precede this film. Simply put – not only does Mancini know his fans, he respects them as well (also – be sure to stick around for the very end of the credits for a, erm…mind-blowing easter egg).

If I had but just a few qualms about this film, they would start with the occasionally unconvincing CG. The animatronic Chucky still looks and moves wonderfully, but some of the digital assists he has don’t always work so well (still, there is no VFX moment in the film I’d call truly awful or of Syfy caliber). In addition, one wishes we could have spent a bit more time with Nica throughout the film’s middle section, as she seems to get a bit lost within a couple of the film’s other subplots. More might have also been done to more fully exploit the “friendship” between Chucky and Alice – though, I suppose, the danger there might have been the possibility of retreading too much of the original Child’s Play’s events. Still, these are minor nitpicks when judged against the very successful whole.

Universal’s shameful handling of this film by neglecting its theatrical possibilities does not extend to the treatment they’ve given to the title on Blu, which is impressive. This shot on digital feature looks absolutely gorgeous in high def, boasting superb colors and razor-sharp detail (this writer wanted to run his fingers across the wonderfully textured sets at times). The DTS-HD 5.1 track is appropriately punchy when it needs to be, while employing some neat, subtle surround effects at times for maximum creepiness.

The bonus features section is perfectly solid as well. There is an audio commentary featuring Mancini, Fiona Dourif, and Chucky puppeteer Tony Gardner. This track is a fun listen, full of cool anecdotes and neat behind-the-scenes tales that’ll be essential for Chucky fans to hear. There are also six deleted scenes, all of which are quite decent (though it’s understandable why each was cut). In addition, there is a brief gag reel (which, unlike most gag reels, is genuinely amusing), along with a set of storyboard comparisons for four of the film’s major sequences. Then we have three featurettes taking decent looks at the production, the puppetry, and the franchise as a whole. A good package for a great flick.

Ultimately, folks, if you’re a fan of Chucky, you’re going to dig this flick. It’s an unsettling, intense, and occasionally funny film with more than enough surprises to keep veteran fans and uninitiated viewers grinning ear to ear. Here’s hoping Universal not only gives Mancini the go-ahead for another follow-up but puts this franchise back into theatres where it belongs.

Special Features

  • Rated and Unrated Versions of the Feature Film
  • Audio Commentary with Director Don Mancini, Puppeteer Tony Gardner, and Star Fiona Dourif
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Playing with Dolls: The Making of Curse of Chucky
  • Living Doll: Bringing Chucky to Life
  • Voodoo Doll: The Chucky Legacy
  • Storyboard Comparison

    Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Curse of Chucky in the comments section below!

  • Jinx

    • nazo

      I completely agree with this review. I’ve only seen the original Child’s Play and this one, so I can’t speak to the continuity debate, and I thought some of Chucky’s lines were a bit too hokey, but overall I really enjoyed this movie.

    • kiddcapone

      I just got around to watching this and I’m in the so/so camp. It was alright but still too hokey for my tastes. So much of the film fell flat. The gratuitous “jump scares” they threw in didn’t work in the least and actually made me laugh. They had a really creepy gothic house and barely used it. I expected a final battle between the chick and Chucky that took full advantage of locations in the home and….notta, mostly in the elevator. And the CGI was very low budget. If you can’t do it right, please use practical f/x.

      It’s a step in the right direction, much better than Seed and Bride, but not as good as the first 3.

      Curse of Chucky 2/5.

    • aliensharkboy

      Finally saw this. Fuckin’ A!

    • Cinemascribe

      I thought Curse was superb. Didn’t like it quite as much as Child’s Play 2 (which I still consider the high point of the series), but it ran about even with the original. I definitely think its outclasses CP3, Bride or Seed.

      A couple of quick points:
      SPOILER: Jinx is correct about this being a sequel set after Seed. In the scene you folks have been discussing, Tiffany delivers the line “They never learn” after killing the cop, alluding to the fact that she has previously tricked a man into bringing her Chucky’s remains for money only to kill him at the last minute, which sets the scene up as being similar to the opening of Bride, but not the same actual scene. Basically, Jinx nailed it- Tiffany has at this point dolled up (pun intended) Tilly’s body and is using it to carry on helping Chucky. For the record, this was the one scene in the film that I DIDN’T care for. It felt like a desperate attempt to shoehorn a connection to Bride into a film which had done a remarkable job of reestablishing the dark, scary vibe of the first three Child’s Play movies. END SPOILER

      – I thought Brad Dourif’s vocal performance was excellent. The difference was that Chucky was written as being angry, not wisecracking. He wasn’t funny in Curse because he wasn’t supposed to be funny. This was more of a straight Gothic horror story with revenge undertones, not a horror comedy.

    • GODFLESH69

      after seeing so many positive reviews was hoping for this to be great , but got to get my own opinion as reviews can be subjective. This was just ok (IMO)not great, was lacking in the writing department Chucky was just not as clever guess they were going for tone of 1st film but didn’t come across for me but for a DTV not that bad at all, this and Fright Night 2 make for a good double feature on the couch.

    • James Coker

      I have the distinct feeling Curse will be a big time “half Love it Half Hate it” kind of movie
      I’m in the Fucking Love it Half

    • Sirand

      *SPOILERS*

      The movie takes place between CP3 and Bride.

      She repeatedly got Chucky from dumb cops and kept sending him off to different people. The beginning of Bride takes place after Andy shotguns him at the end of Curse.

      Not hard to figure out.

      • Jinx

        I…I can’t tell if you’re being serious, or if you’re simply lampooning those who can’t see that it’s a sequel to all five previous films.

        If it’s the former, I’ll just say I disagree. If the latter – high five, sir.

        • Sirand

          I’m being dead serious.

          Why is there so much confusion over this? You’re watching the character before she’s killed in Bride.

          • LSD Zombie

            That makes even less sense to me. So Tiffany stitched him up twice over the course of the series? Keep in mind I didn’t see the post-credits scene. To me the ending reeked of desperation on the part of Mancini. It seemed like he didn’t know how to end it and that’s the best he could come up with.

          • Jinx

            I have to disagree, sir. Here’s why:

            Rewatch BRIDE OF CHUCKY. The opening scene, with her restitching him. She uses a ”Voodoo for Dummies” guide and seems very unsure of herself when trying to resurrect him (not a seasoned pro, as she would’ve been if they’d been at this for awhile). On top of that, EVERYTHING about their first conversation leads one to believe they’ve been apart for years and are just now reconnecting, as opposed to being recent partners in crime.

            And, going by your theory, the (admittedly already dodgy) timeline of the whole series would be thrown WAY outta whack if CURSE predates SEED. And would Chucky’s scarring really turn out looking EXACTLY the same from CURSE to BRIDE’s opening after a shotgun blast to the face (by a middle-aged Andy Barclay, who would’ve been a teen in ’98, when BRIDE was set)?

            Doesn’t it make far more sense that CURSE would follow SEED’s finale, where we discover Tiffany has taken over Jennifer Tilly’s body? By the time CURSE rolls around, Chucky and Tiff have made up, she’s remade her new body to look like her old self, she’s helping him tie up loose ends, and poor Glen/Glenda sits this one out.

            That’s the only way it makes sense to me. Indeed, I can’t imagine it being any other way. And damn, does anyone have Don Mancini’s number so we can just ask him to straighten this out?!

            • Jinx

              Actually, y’know what? Forget all that. This can be solved in a far more simple way.

              There’s a brief bit in CURSE where Chucky tells Nica about the families he’s destroyed. He mentions – the Barclays (CP1), the Kincaids (BRIDE), and the Tillys (SEED).

              CURSE is a sequel to the previous five films, not a prequel or bridge between previous installments.

              I thank you.

            • Chernobyl Kinsman

              Yeah, I’m not sure why there was confusion either, seemed a pretty straightforward sequel once the ending played out.

    • Jinx

      READERS BEWARE!

      The posts below might have what some would consider to be spoilers. Read at your own risk if you haven’t yet seen CURSE.

      That said –

      LSD – Sorry you didn’t like the movie, man. That’s too bad. As far as CURSE’s connection to BRIDE – CURSE is definitely a sequel. Though the scene with the cop at the end is meant to echo the opening of BRIDE, it’s not meant to be the same moment (Tiffany’s final lines “They never learn.” and “Who’s next?” definitely underline the fact that this is a follow-up). Still, given how similar the dialogue is (along the the nature of the scene itself), it’s easy to see how that’d be confusing.

      • LSD Zombie

        Even if the scene is supposed to take place post-Bride, it still doesn’t make any damn sense because Tiffany’s human body is dead at this point in time.

        • Jinx

          Tiffany took over actress Jennifer Tilly’s body at the end of SEED. One guesses that she simply dyed her hair after, leaving Tiffany looking exactly like…Tiffany.

    • LSD Zombie

      I’m really struggling to understand the praise that this sequel is getting. Besides a great performance from Fiona Dourif, the only other thing that I enjoyed was the reveal of the scars on Chucky’s face from BOC. Which made no fucking sense because the end of the film is the beginning of BOC. This Chucky sequel also contains the most tired and lame Brad Dourif voice-over to date. The line “Women, you can’t live with ‘em……period!” is but a taste of just how shitty Chucky’s one-liners are in this flick.

      If I were to rate all of the Chucky films from best to worst, Curse of Chucky would be at the very bottom.

      • aliensharkboy

        Behind Child’s Play 3? Or even Seed Of? I find that somewhat hard to believe.

        • LSD Zombie

          They weren’t good but they both had better moments of hilarity and gore. Mancini tried to make Chucky scary again and he failed miserably in my eyes. Brad Dourif did much better voice-over work in CP3 and SOC too.

      • Chernobyl Kinsman

        “Which made no fucking sense because the end of the film is the beginning of BOC.”

        Um, no it isn’t.