Chucky: The Complete Collection - Curse of Chucky Blu-ray Review
Written by James Ferguson
Blu-ray released by Universal Studios
Written and directed by Don Mancini
2013, Region A, 97minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on October 8th, 2013
Fiona Dourif as Nica
Danielle Bisutti as Barb
Maitland McConnell as Jill
Brennan Elliot as Ian
Summer Howell as Alice
Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray / Chucky
Heeeeeee's back! After a disappointing turn as a deadbeat dad, everyone's favorite killer doll has returned with Curse of Chucky. Charles Lee Ray is ready to get back to the murdering business, and business is good. This time around, Chucky shows up in the mail as a gift for a woman named Sarah (Chantal Quesnelle). She lives in the middle of nowhere with her daughter Nica (played by Fiona Dourif, Brad Dourif's daughter!). The doll is creepy and Sarah throws it in the garbage without thinking about it. That night, she seemingly leaps to her death from the second (or third?) story of her house. Sarah's overbearing sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) shows up with her family to help Nica and figure out what they're all going to do next.
The following twenty minutes of the film get us more familiar with this dysfunctional group and give us a reason to route for Chucky when he begins his rampage. Sarah is a stuck-up bitch. Her husband Ian (Brennan Elliott) is now working at Starbucks after being laid off from a high paying white collar job (Thanks a lot, Obama!) and struggling to put up with her. They have a daughter named Alice (Summer Howell) who is tended to by their live-in nanny Jill (Maitland McConnell), who they can't possibly afford but is kept around anyway. Oh, and there's a priest here for some reason. Also, Nica has been in a wheelchair all her life and has to use the creepy elevator in the center of the house to get between floors. Why she doesn't just stay on the first floor is anyone's guess.
While previous films in the franchise deal with psychological horror and build up the terror over time, Curse of Chucky jumps right in. Unfortunately, it dove into the shallow end. The movie is filled with cheap scares. Tension-filled music builds up as Jill searches for the Chucky doll and hits a climax when she checks under the bed only to find nothing at all. Similar setups fill the entire flick and feel like cheating when this character can – and has been – truly scary. It's unnecessary to have something meaningless fall or jump out at a character just to try and startle the audience.
The true reason for Chucky's delivery to this house is slowly revealed throughout the course of the film. For the first time, we're given a glimpse into Charles Lee Ray's life before he became a murderous child's plaything. Chucky is looking to take care of some unfinished business that he was distracted from when he had to spend all that time trying to swap bodies with children. This makes Curse of Chucky a more personal movie. Instead of the victims serving solely as cannon fodder, they mean something to the audience and to the killer.
Despite this connection, Curse of Chucky feels like a generic horror film. With the aforementioned cheap scares and the back-to-basics slasher style, you can swap out Chucky with any random killer and not change much in the movie. Sure, there would be some awkward scenes, like when Alice is cuddling with Chucky in bed, that wouldn't look the same if someone like Leatherface was in there instead, but you get my meaning. It lacks the spark that made the original Child's Play films special. The novelty of a serial killer doll has worn off.
In addition to the victim's connection to Chucky, there are some nice callbacks to the other films in the franchise. Fortunately, there is no mention of Glen/Glenda, but other characters make some cameos, including a very special one that shows up after the credits. This is something that I don't want to spoil because it's pretty awesome, but it created a large plot hole that makes no sense and still bothers me.
Along the same lines, Curse of Chucky breaks the rules established in the previous films. I don't want to get all fanboy on this, but all stories in the same universe need to be governed by a set of laws. You get them when you start watching and it helps in your suspension of disbelief. Superman is super strong but is vulnerable to Kryptonite. If he were to suddenly be fine next to the green rock from his home planet, it wouldn't make sense. This is what I'm talking about with this franchise. The first three Child's Play movies are pretty strict in how Chucky can escape his plastic body. He needs to swap places with the first person that he revealed his secret to. This was Andy Barclay for the first two flicks and then that boring kid Tyler in the third. This is ignored in Bride and Seed by the reemergence of the amulet that Charles Lee Ray used to put his soul into the Good Guy doll in the first place. Apparently he can take anyone's body with that thing. How convenient. Why didn't he just use that instead of chasing around Andy? Anyway, Curse of Chucky skips all that. Chucky is fine in his plastic body. He just wants to catch up on his kills.
The issue I have specifically, though, is that plastic shell. Those cold, lifeless eyes stare back at us for the first third of the film and that's awesome. What's weird, though, is there is no consistency on what Chucky is made of. This part gets fuzzy in the franchise. At first, he slowly turned human until he would be permanently stuck in this body. Later on, he was plastic on the outside with a creamy center of blood and gooey parts inside (demonstrated by the scene early in Seed of Chucky when Tiffany's back plate is removed, exposing a spine and lungs). Now he's all plastic.
Curse of Chucky is definitely the most serious and darkest film in the franchise. The main character rarely jokes this time around, preferring instead to stalk his prey and make them suffer. It lacks some of the charm that makes the first few flicks so enjoyable, which makes this one more of a by-the-book horror movie. Diehard fans of Chucky will enjoy the tie-ins to previous films, especially the post-credits sequence, but the plot holes and inconsistencies are going to annoy them.
Video and Audio:
As this is the first Chucky movie to be filmed in the digital age, it looks a lot better in HD than the previous ones. It's clear that this isn't just an HD transfer from an SD DVD. Similarly, the audio is pretty solid without any issues.
Outside of the feature-length commentary with director Don Mancini, Puppet Master Tony Gardner, and star Fiona Dourif, there's not a lot in the feature department. It adds up to maybe 30-40 minutes of extra footage, including a far too short gag reel and three brief featurettes that look at the making of the film and the puppet itself. Would it have killed the filmmakers to do a commentary with Brad Dourif as Chucky? I would have LOVED to hear that.
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