Chucky was always my favorite of the many serial killers that sprouted from the 70's and 80's slasher films. Sure, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Pinhead, Leatherface and Freddy Krueger were all instrumental in my fascination and divulgence into the horror genre - but the possessed Good Guys doll by the name of Chucky was always my favorite of the tentpole franchises.
It is hard to fathom that it was 25 years ago when Chucky was first launched into our pop culture references with Child's Play. Directed to Tom Holland on a story by Don Mancini, the 1988 horror surprised most everyone with a $35 million box office gross against a paltry $9 million budget.
Sequels ensued with Child's Play 2 (1990), Child's Play 3 (1991), Bride of Chucky (1998) and Seed of Chucky (2004). Through each film, the horror seemed lessened by the increasing use of black humor scattered amongst the bloodshed.
This is not to suggest that the Child's Play franchise lost its way, but it did veer off the original path. This deviation was not lost of creator Don Mancini who takes charge behind the camera for Curse of Chucky now available on VOD.
In this sixth edition of the evil doll's murderous exploits, Chucky is shipped from a police evidence lockup to a home of a young woman, Nica, confined to a wheelchair since birth. Chucky's first victim alienates the young woman and when other family and friends arrive at the house to comfort Nica, it allows for a higher body count and a night of mayhem. Nica is able to put the pieces together to eventually figure the doll at the centre of the bloodshed, but her limited mobility will be both a benefit and a hindrance on her ultimate survival.
We've come a long way since 1988 and Mancini has more digital tricks up his sleeve to bring the doll to life. Some might balk at the idea of a CGI motioned doll, but take our word for it, the added computer detail only adds to Chucky's evil looks. There are a few scenes where our villain gets to show real emotion using his rubber face and it is the technology that a lot of horror enthusiasts despise that is at the root of the improvements.
Mancini did go back to the roots with the story that focuses more on the development of the horror rather than the slapstick funduggery that overly consumed Bride and Seed of Chucky. Replacing much of the pop culture referencing in-jokes are some tense moments of horror and some valued kills that value quality over quantity.
Curse of Chucky goes places unexpected for a fifth sequel and it betters any of the films that preceded it in the series. Chucky is meaner, nastier and more patient which allows for better horror. There are some good scares in Curse and Chucky's evil might never have been better punctuated on screen. A solid story – one with flashback ties that support Chucky's choice of family terrorizing and some after the credit scenes that tie in the rest of the series – compliments the action and sets the stage for what we hope is the continuation of the franchise.