The Child’s Play films have always had a small place in my horror loving heart. From the original, through to the kinda-serious sequels, and the completely daft spin-off’s like Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, I found something enjoyable about each, but always longed for the day when someone would try to create a modern Chucky film with a tone that felt more like horror than comedy, like the first one was. Enter Curse of Chucky, directed by Don Mancini, writer of every Child’s Play/Chucky film, and director of Seed of Chucky (2004).
When Nica’s (Fiona Dourif) mother dies, she, and her sister, Barb (Danielle Bisutti), brother-in-law, Ian (Brennan Elliott), their nanny, Jill (Maitland McConnell), and their young daughter, Alice (Summer H. Howell), as well as a priest (A Martinez) who is offering help to the family, connect at the home that their mother lived in, along with Nica, who is in a wheelchair, paralysed since birth. Prior to their mother passing, they received a package from an unnamed sender, and when opening it find that it is a doll named Chucky. Alice, the five year old daughter, takes a liking to Chucky and bonds with the toy. From here, as we stay inside the big house with these six characters, we find that the doll isn’t quite as inanimate as the group might have thought, and when people begin to die, the story of Chucky comes to light, again.
I had a fun time with this film. I was happy to see a less comedic tone here, and though some of it is laughable, it is played straight, and I get more of a kick out of that, and find that scenes played straight can often be funnier than the ones attempting to attain a laugh from its audience. I thought that Fiona Dourif (daughter of Brad) was very good in the lead role, as Nica, a disabled woman struggling with life in many ways, but fighting against the obstacles with all her might. It’s easy to root for a character like Nica, and I did root for her here. She was given the most screen-time, and thus received the most character development in the film. The other characters, except for Chucky, and perhaps Alice, the little girl, weren’t really there for much, except to give Chucky a reason to unleash his violent masochist soul in the form of weapon-induced bludgeoning’s. Brad Dourif returns as the voice of Chucky, and we get to see some backstory into Charles Lee Ray, the serial killer whose soul jumped into the doll back in the 80’s. His one-liners are silly and corny, but they work well for the character and the history that exists within it.
Something I enjoyed here, other than the fun gore and easy to watch story, was the fact that the film acknowledged the previous films. I always enjoy when sequels, years after the original film was released, point out where they came from. It isn’t all a fun-time though, the ending of the film, everything that happens once we leave the house, was poor. I found myself wishing they had just ended the film before the surprise cameo at the end, and the little twist they poked into a tiny speck of time before the credits rolled. Still, regardless of the silly end portion of the movie, it is still a good time and one I will return to at some point.
The blood and gore and kill scenes were creative and enjoyable, and the performances from the cast were good. It was, until the last ten minutes of the film, my favourite Chucky film since the original one. Without the ending, it is right up there, but with it… it probably falls after the original three and before Bride of Chucky, but really… who the Hell cares how I rank the film? It’s a bunch of fun and has that Chucky charm that drew us to that creepy little bastard back in the 1980’s, and in the sequels. I’d say give it a go, especially around Halloween-time, it’s just right for that light-hearted horror that is amusing, but not too hard on the brain.