Sunday, 27 October 2013

Curse of Chucky (2013): Review

Curse of Chucky is a 2013 slasher film. Written and directed by Chucky creator Don Mancini and starring Fiona Dourif, Danielle Bisutti (Insidious: Chapter 2) and voice of Chucky, Brad Dourif. The film is the 6th, and possibly final instalment, in the Chucky franchise.

The movie centres around wheelchair-bound Nica (Fiona Dourif) who receives a seemingly brand new good guy doll in the post in the opening sequence, however, after her mother is mysteriously killed we begin to see the Resurrection of Chucky. Cue the rest of Nica's family, including sister Barb (Bisutti), who rush to the eerie mansion to help with the affairs aka the inheritance. Unfortunately everybody is too busy to notice Chucky slashing his way through the extended family and in a spectacularly twisty final act we learn the true reason behind Chucky's return.

So, quick history lesson. Child's Play was released in 1988 and introduced us to the killer doll possessed by serial killer Charles Lee Ray (via a voodoo spell) and his victim young Andy Barclay. There followed 2 sequels (90/91) and rounded off a solid but typical 80s slasher trilogy. The character was then brought back for Bride of Chucky (1998) and Seed of Chucky (2004) as the franchise exaggerated the more comical elements of the character and played very meta with the horror universe (particularly in Seed). And here we are, 25 years later, and Curse of Chucky wisely returns the franchise to its earnest slasher roots and to be honest there was really no other choice after Seed.

This doesn't mean that Chucky is without his signature one liners, the wit and charm that has made the character so enduring is fully intact. Another interest element that has been added in this instalment is a really traditional, Gothic horror twist on proceedings in both plot and setting. The mansion itself is an obvious nod to the days of Universal or Hammer Horror productions but Mancini also draws on that classic trope of having a group of people gathered in a creepy mansion and allowing the events to unravel in real time. This brings to mind Horror classics like House on Haunted Hill (1959) and The Haunting (1963) and freshens up the format nicely.

It's very telling that although the Chucky character has been around for 25 years this is only the 6th instalment. Whereas fellow 80s horror icons Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger have been overexposed by innumerable sequels, remakes and reboots the Chucky franchise has remained restrained and protected from exhaustion, presumably under Mancini's watch. This shines through in what is a really enjoyable instalment in the franchise and i have great respect for the mind boggling retcon job in the final act necessary to write themselves out of the corner they were left in after Seed. Highly recommended to Chucky fans old and new!

4 Stars ****

What did you think of Curse? Are you a fan of the Franchise?


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