Many of the horror icons from the 1980s have returned to the big screen in recent years, though all have been reincarnations of the infamous monsters rather than a continuation. Jason returned with a steroid-affected physique, Freddy lost his humor and replaced it with stronger emphasis on pedophilia, and Leatherface became more sympathetic with several films giving us unnecessary back-story. The one villain from the 1980s to remain the same is Chucky, from casting to driving force and creator Don Mancini. The only thing that has changed over the years is the amount of damage done to his plastic face.
Since Child’s Play brought the ginger doll to life for the first time in 1988, creator Don Mancini has remained involved as screenwriter, and more recently as director. Mancini’s career has consisted of little other than Chucky, with nearly all screenwriting credits belonging to the demonic doll. It wasn’t until the last film, Seed of Chucky, that Mancini made his directorial debut. Curse of Chucky is his second film as a director, and though he still shows an inability to retrieve believable performances from any of his breathing actors, it is actually the screenwriting and a lack of Chucky’s personality which drags this latest sequel into forgettable territory.
The other remaining element from the franchise’s origins is the voice of Chucky, Brad Dourif, though not in the same manner as fans of the franchise may be accustomed to. Gone are the wisecracking one-liners, instead replaced with a more silent Chucky and an emphasis on thrills and chills over laughter and camp. It almost feels like a throwback to the simplicity of the first film, though without the same amount of fun. Emphasis is on the deaths, which are very precisely carried out in terms of filmmaking, though too few and far apart to save the film. Curse of Chucky is a polished looking film, obviously created by some talented tradesmen, though lacking in any narrative creativity or engaging performances. In short, this is a bit too safe and predictable for a horror movie, even when it does deliver the gore.
The plot is set up to take place entirely in one location, no doubt helping in lowering the cost of production and helping create the film’s strong visuals from director of photography Michael Marshall. A package arrives as a gift to the home of Nica (Fiona Dourif), whose mother soon mysteriously dies. The package has a Chucky doll, which has a specific reason for visiting the particular house which makes the casting choice even more on-the-nose.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray release of Curse of Chucky is a featurette on the effects behind Chucky’s animation, and another on the legacy of the film monster. The Blu-ray also has a storyboard comparison, which further explains the precision in Mancini’s filmmaking. Also included in the features, including the DVD copy, are deleted scenes and a gag reel. There is also a making-of featurette and a commentary track with Mancini, Fiona Dourif, and puppeteer Tony Gardner.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 8/10