Curse Of Chucky (2013)

Full confession time: I have never been a big fan on the Childs Play/Chucky franchise or killer doll films in general. Perhaps it's too much of a leap for me to make, the belief that a 2 foot doll could wreak so much havoc . That being said the first 'Childs Play' film is pretty good. Directed by Tom Holland (Fright Night), it has a certain charm and creepiness. Plus there's Chrs Sarandon and the chick from 'Star Trek IV' so it has that going for it as well. And Brad Dourif. That's really all any horror fan needs to know. Is Brad Douriff in i? Yes? Then you should see it.

Chucky drifted through some pretty terrible and forgetful sequels. There was the direct sequel, something at a military academy and maybe another or maybe not. They all seem to run together at this point. Then there was a break. Chucky returned almost ten years later, in 'Bride Of Chucky,' a film that is certainly more tongue in cheek and less scary than it's predecessors. It was followed by the even more camp 'Seed Of Chucky.' Chuck, the character, had moved from creepy murderous little doll to borderline stand up comedian a la Freddy Kruger in the last few 'Nightmare' sequels. So build in another 9 year gap between 'Seed' and 'Curse' and the questions surrounding the tone and feel of the latest 'Chucky' film abound.

We begin where most great horror films begin - in a creepy old house. Sarah receives a strange package via movie fake Fed Ex delivery man. The delivery guy hits on Sarah's paraplegic daughter, Nica while Sarah opens the package. Guess what's in the package? If you said murderous Chucky doll - you'd be correct! Later that night, much to the surprise of no one, Sarah winds up (mysteriously) dead. In rush Sarahs other daughter, Barb, her husband Ian, their daughter Alice (Sweet Alice) and Alice's babysitter, Jill. Barb suggests Nica move into a special needs home so they can sell the house becasue god forbid Alice goes to public school.

Thus the parade of unlikeable characters begins. Barb is a bitch. Ian is lusting after Jill, who is more than willing to play along as long as everything stays PG. it has to stay PG becasue Jill is actually fucking Barb. The only person with any redeeming value here is Nica who is actually pretty hot - until you realize she looks exactly like her father, Brad Dourif. Once you realize that it feels wrong thinking of her that way - unless you have a sexual thing for Brad Dourif, then by all means this film is for you.

If you've seen any of the Chucky films you can probably dictate the beats of the first hour of the film or so with your eyes closed. Which for me might work better because, like I said above suspending disbelief this much is hard. That being said, director and writer, Mr. Don Mancini himself does a tremendous job of building the tension and setting up the kills. Just sit back and revel in the chili set up. That's all I will say about it. The tension is palatable, so many red herrings are thrown at you over a ten minute sequence that that sequence could be a pretty damn good short film in itself. Some may say that it goes on a little too long. They may be right, but the whole sequence is so wonderful it makes the pacing problem it creates minimal.

The film devolves into your basic Chucky film with some stupid people getting killed in some ridiculous ways (How the hell does Chucky operate a motor vehicle?) until the third act. It should be noted that unlike the previous two sequels Chuckys wisecracking is almost non-existent in the film. He still talks and has some one liners but they are mean spirited rather than an attempt at humor.

It's the third act that really elevates this film over any of its sequels. Down to just Chucky and Nica we learn why Chucky/Charles Lee Ray chose this particular family. We see a little more of Rays back story complete with new Brad Doriff footage spliced (almost) seamlessly with footage from the original film. It's this back story that raises the stakes not only for Nica but for Chucky as well.

Well shot. Well acted. And well written it's hard to find something that 'Curse of Chucky' doesn't do well. Even the score by veteran horror composer Joe Deluca (Army Of Darkness) is tremendous. It's a pretty big rebound for a series that had devolved into self parody over the last couple of sequels. Fans of those last couple of films need not despair though, there is enough reverence paid to those films to satiate you.

'Curse of Chucky' is a lot better than it has any right to be. If you want to see a series rescued from the doldrums - check it out. 'Curse of Chucky'is currently available on DVD and maybe on various VOD platforms, I didn't check. Do I Have to do everything for you?

P.S. Stay tuned after the credits for one of the best post credit scenes - ever.

*** stars out of *****

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