Director – Don Mancini
Cast – Chantal Quesnelle, Fiona Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, A Martinez, Maitland McConnell, Brennan Elliott, Summer H. Howell
Release Year – 2013
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Child’s Play is one of my all-time favorite franchises but I lost interest in the series after the comedic entries, Bride / Seed of Chucky, but my interest was restored when word hit that original writer Don Mancini was going to write and direct the newest sequel, Curse of Chucky. Originally slated to be a remake, this effort continues the series and does so in a positive fashion with an engaging story that takes viewers back to the feel of the first flick. This is first film in the series to be released direct to DVD, but the lack of Hollywood intervention does little to deter the experience and may have saved it. Heavy in the most important of elements, like kills, gore, and overall horror, Curse of Chucky overcomes its faults and makes for a pretty fun flick in the end that gives Chucky fans more of what we love.
After the sudden death of her mother, Nica begins to suspect that the recent bloodshed and chaos is a result of the red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with.
At 97 minutes this film has the longest runtime in the series, and I am glad that it came with an interesting storyline. I liked that the Good Guy doll was not purchased but was sent to them via an anonymous source and after Nica’s niece took a liking to him it was only natural to keep the creepy doll since it kept her satisfied. It does not take long for the initial violence to hit, and after that we wait about 30 minutes until the first kill hits the screen. The story does move a bit slow and there is much development for the first half of the film, but once Chucky decides to let loose we are given nonstop action for the remainder of the film. This reminded me very much of the slow-building template for Child’s Play, except with a different family and a few other extra elements involved – one of them being the more insight into Charles Lee Ray’s past. Don Mancini adds more supernatural ability to Chucky as well, and he takes on a somewhat silly role at first, committing simple mischief instead of actually harming his victims – like a poltergeist. His story does come with a few faults but none of them were big enough to ruin the experience for me. Obviously this film will not hold its own against the original, but it is most definitely one of the better entries into the series and much better than the last three films.
Don Mancini’s direction is pretty good and I can say he does a much better job than the only other film he has directed, Seed of Chucky. With this being a direct to video flick I was unsure of how it would look film quality-wise, but it looks like Mancini did well with the low budget he had to work with. Nearly the entire film takes place in the home Nica’s mother left to her, and it provides a great setting for some good horror. It comes heavy in stained wood and dark corners that allow for good spooky atmosphere to compliment the scares, but the visual enjoyment does not end there. I enjoyed the modern look of Chucky and was glad to see that he came to us via live action FX, as did the gore and kills he delivered to the audience. There were some execution issues that I had a problem with, and the one that bothered me the most was Brad Dourif’s voice performance. Brad is most definitely Chucky and will always be Chucky for the remainder of his life, much like Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, but I found his performance to be a bit over the top and over-acted. This was not that big of a deal though since he did do very well with Chucky’s infamous laugh and he also excelled as Charles Lee Ray. There are other execution issues that plague the film a little bit and I feel it was these issues that kept the flick from a wide release, but ultimately Mancini’s direction succeeds where it matters most and thanks to that we have another enjoyable killer doll film.
Overall, Curse of Chucky is a great addition to the series that helps to mask the sour taste left by the last two comedic films, Bride / Seed of Chucky. This effort brings back the feel of the original film and continues the story in a positive way, and thanks to good direction we are also given solid horror as well.