Curse of Chucky (2013)

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

Written and directed by Don Mancini

Curse of Chucky focuses on the conflict, grief, and even humor of what happens when you get that special little Good Guy in the mail. The setting is new to many of the fans of the series—an old dark house. We have a character in a wheelchair. A greedy vulture-like family that swoops in when grief is as fresh as the recently departed's grave. But something about all these elements (or should I say too many elements) clashing at once doesn't allow for a cohesive experience.

One day in our old dark house, a very lovely and very wheelchair-bound Nica (F. Dourif) receives a mysterious gift in the mail: a new Chucky doll, which she feels is totally retro (ah, the meta). Her mother (Quesnelle) thinks it's odd that she received it—so unexpected to get a ginger doll baby from the 80's in the mail with no "from" address. They take him out of his packaging and sit him down, but the little fucker does not stay down for long. Mom ends up dead—a broken bloody mess on the floor. Cut to Nica's older sister, Barb (Bisutti), arriving at the house with husband, child, nanny, and Catholic priest in tow. Her daughter, Alice (Summer H. Howell), falls for Nica's new friend, who teaches her important lessons in life about voodoo and atheism. "There is no God," he tells her during playtime.

Lots of people die, but the gore was not extreme enough to shock (granted, this was the R-rated version they brought to Fantasia). The Blu-ray promises more gore, but I don't think it's going to solve the schizoid feel of the film. It's not that violent, not that funny, and quite frankly, not that entertaining. It's a watered-down mélange of all the Chuckys before it, which is a problem because it just reminds you of the earlier, more fun movies. One can’t help but think that the actors in the previous two installments (Seed and Bride) had many more opportunities to shine. The characterizations in Curse are standard.

Fantasia 2013I could never get over the fact that the set was a creepy dark house and none of that environment and atmosphere was really explored. The grafting on of a What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? style sibling rivalry melodrama and an Old Dark House ghost story tone to the Chucky series is a misstep, unless the director is stylistically up to it. The uninspired, TV movie-level visual approach leaves the house just looking like a set. Old wallpaper does not a spooky melodrama make. Horror evokes strong feelings, images, tones—all elements have to work towards that goal: if, in the name of "restraint" you merely remain lukewarm, you don't succeed. If you can't pull it off, then give me more gore, and if your blood budget is low, then show me more Chucky. After six movies don't hide him. Rejoice that he is killing again...and again...

One thing Curse has going for it is you do get more Dourif for your dollar: In fact not only do you get a double dose of Dourif himself (in both dubbed doll-voice and fleshly form), but playing one of Chucky’s prime targets is the Seed of Dourif: his daughter, Fiona. The performances are all fine—especially the great Brad Dourif, of course, whose murderous surliness and lunatic glee are the heart of this series. For super-fans towards the end is actually where the fun begins; it's a shame that energy and glint weren't present throughout the production. If you are a fan of the series, see this one for the payoffs in the last third. It will make you smile. It made me smile. It's just unfortunate that you have to sit through such rote material to get to it.

Curse of Chucky represents the filmmakers’ compromise between continuing a series and rebooting it. As Part 6 of a series, with the two previous chapters being so crazy and over-the-top, the strategy of de-escalation doesn’t really work. It’s too muted but, at the same time (at least in the R-rated cut screened at Fantasia), not dark and brutal enough to make the menace of Chucky palpable. The curse of Curse of Chucky is that while it may be straining to appeal to many, it ultimately satisfies none.

2 1/2 out of 5

Discuss Curse of Chucky in the comments section below!


Tshoffie's picture

Just like Friday the 13th and numerous other horror franchises i wish they would just stop already...come up with something new let chucky and the others finally rest in piece..i mean its really sad that hollywood has to continue to milk these franchise till they are beyond dead... if friday the 13th series had stopped after part 4 it would have been great but no filmakers and producers feel the need to keep going but its not just them to a certain extent its moviegoers who crave the same old same old and wont let these franchises die..its a real shame

Submitted by Tshoffie on Wed, 08/28/2013 - 12:09am.
James Coker's picture

I'm waiting for Kasch's Review. The Reviewer here seemed to expect a comedy like Seed and Bride and was disappointed it wasnt

Submitted by James Coker on Fri, 08/23/2013 - 3:41am.

I saw it already - it's great. This reviewer doesn't know what she's talking about. (As evidenced by her reference to "Who's Afraid of Baby Jane" [sic] - COME ON, don't discredit yourself so easily.)

The great thing about it IS the fact that it takes its time to bring Chucky in. And it uses that time to develop the characters, particularly Nica, who's played by Fiona Dourif in a really excellent, totally appealing performance. Fiona Dourif is a great onscreen presence, and even from a wheelchair manages to be sexy, vibrant, and riveting.

The brilliant and chilling aspect of the original was that we didn't see Chucky move for a long time, so that when he came alive in her hands, it was a genuinely shocking moment. There are real shocks in CURSE OF CHUCKY, too. The "eye" moment, for example - you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it. And some shocks that are character-based, like the real relationship of Maitland McConnell's character to the family.

And the setpieces are excellent. There's a sequence where Nica is trapped in a garage with Chucky, and another scene in an elevator, that are perfectly directed and acted and authentically claustrophobic and scary.

I really hope this gets a theatrical release. If it does, I'm there. If not, I'm buying the Blu-ray.

A must-see for horror fans.

Submitted by Mandevore on Fri, 08/23/2013 - 12:24am.
Sirand's picture

Saw the film today. It's a lot of fun. Strikes a great balance between the serious and pitch black humor and has some great surprises for the die-hard fans. Great visual direction by Mancini. If you dig the series, you'll really enjoy this one.

Submitted by Sirand on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 6:13pm.
LifeMi's picture

Are you a Child's Play fan? I enjoy the first two films and Bride, but don't find any of them to be good in the conventional sense.
How does Curse compare to the rest of the series?

Submitted by LifeMi on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 6:58pm.
Sirand's picture

While I don't consider any of the films great, I do have a soft spot for the series. I like em all except for 3.

Submitted by Sirand on Sat, 08/24/2013 - 2:36pm.

aw, come on, surely you have to have even the tiniest soft spoft for Wesley Crusher (lookalike) vs Chucky?

Submitted by Chernobyl Kinsman on Sat, 08/24/2013 - 11:02pm.
moderator And, yes, before you guys
Steve Barton's picture

And, yes, before you guys ask, Andrew will be writing up a review.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 6:57pm.
Heather Buckley's picture

Interviews go up tomorrow for those who are curious...

Submitted by Heather Buckley on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 11:14pm.
James Coker's picture

"wasnt that funny".....yes because Don Mancini sure wanted this movie to be just like the previous two in tone huh (facepalm)

Submitted by James Coker on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 11:05pm.

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