Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Curse of Chucky

Does anyone remember Chucky? He's that lovable forgotten icon from 1988 that really made children happy and joyful. He was the kind of character that taught your children important morals. You know, like never stand for friends abandoning you right before you get shit to death, resulting in your using a voodoo ritual to swap your twisted dark soul into a popular children's toy. Or don't go wandering off into the slums of Chicago with a talking doll that called your babysitter a bitch. Yes, Chucky had many lessons for me as a kid. He also made me look at the My Buddy doll on my shelf in a new way.

Remember, kids, bitches get stitches.


Yes, good old Chucky sure changed the way things were viewed regarding the popular My Buddy doll. For example, I looked at the doll as I used the bathroom in my childhood bedroom (which had no doorknob and could not be locked or really secured from dolls that want to play "hide the soul") and thought it would be a great idea to douse it in a flammable liquid and toss it into the nearest fire. But, that's just me.

Granted, it didn't really work out too well for Andy.
So, you can imagine just how thrilled I was to see a new Chucky film on the horizon. Childhood trauma aside, I always got a kick out of the campy value of the menacing little doll and his patented one-liners. I even had a dream once in which he and I were having a nice calm collected conversation on my couch as he stabbed me repeatedly in the leg. I'm still not sure what that meant, as I seemed fine in the dream. And today I was lucky enough to sit down to view the newest film in the series for myself. Sadly, no one else seemed interested in watching it, but that's to be expected in household with a whopping total of 1 horror fan. Now, going into this I was aware of a few things. First of all, that this was originally meant to be a reboot/remake. Now after seeing it, I can see bits of that still in the plot. And, of course, that this was a labour of love on the parts of the filmmakers, who were both trying to please the fans and save the franchise. These things also show in the quality of the film. Getting to the plot, our characters are set up as a troubled family who seem rather cursed from the get-go. Even before Chucky showed up, really. The mother is visibly not well mentally, the daughter is in a wheelchair with two legs on the fritz and a heart that could go out if she strains herself too much. And then, lo and behold, a mysterious package arrives. Want to guess what it is?

Did you guess it was something that very much makes the case against gingers having souls?

Yeah, just take a moment and really look at that Good Guy doll. I mean, really look at it. It was creepy before, but now it looks like the sort of toy you would lock a rapist alone in a room with as a punishment. Five minutes into this and I am already creeped out by new Chucky and he hasn't even killed anyone. But hey, one scene later...
Sorry, sweetie, I seem to have slipped on a pair of scissors and died. I'll clean up this mess later.
One dead mom later, we get introduced to the rest of the cast. Seems our wheeled heroine has a bitchy sister, a Paul Rudd-ish brother-in-law, an adorable niece, and a token attractive blonde babysitter. Oh yeah, and a padre shows up too, because nothing cheers you up faster than a man reminding you that the church's official stance on suicide is pity. Really, that's the only thing he does. He has very little dialogue and just seems to be around to add to the body-count, which I am alright with. It turns out the bitchy sister is a bitch and wants two things in life: to sell their mother's house while her sister moves into an assisted living home, and to scissor the living fuck of the nanny.

Man, I want a nanny.

For a lot of the movie, Chucky prefers to not be directly seen moving around. Only the little girl is let in on his secret. He pulls off some creative kills, even a poisoning that results in probably my favourite death in the film. He's like the shark in Jaws, the threat that is there but no one wants to talk acknowledge until several people are dead and there's a sad 12 year old boy realizing there isn't going to be any lesbian sex for him to fap to. Anyway, 'm getting off track. They give us a scene where the family is watching home movies of the dead mother and their also dead father at a barbecue. At said barbecue, a strange man shows up who the elder bitchy sister says is likely a neighbor from back then.

Is that award winning actor Brad Dourif or just a wandering Tommy Wiseau?
 If you've watched the first Child's Play, the long-haired shifty gentleman may look quite familiar, If you haven't, well, you can still clearly tell he's shifty and might be taking someone back to his van for what he assures them is free candy. But foreshadowing be damned! Our characters aren't in the habit of connecting dots or recalling the stories of a homicidal doll terrorizing people since 1988. No, instead the elder sister, who I shall henceforth refer to by her proper name of Cunty McBitchface, goes to the kitchen for a bit of the whole spit swap with the nanny. And, once more, all of our young male viewers are left with blue balls as the plot rears its head to interrupt their shenanigans.
 
"Chucky, what are blue balls?"
 Throughout the remainder of the film, implications of there being someone in the house besides them are ignored by the characters as Chucky slowly whittles them down, leading to a rather interesting climax that makes me curious where Chucky might need a training bra in the future. We also get a few rather nice cameos for the Chucky fans that I will not advertise, as I was rather happily surprised. The effects were well-done, the new doll was creepy both in its dormant state and when Chucky decided to start moving around on camera. I was impressed with there not being an over-reliance on the humour too, sticking it out and making it a solid horror film. Chucky's new design was both a throw back the former films and something new, working in some of Dourif's own facial mannerisms. It made him that much creepier to look at, because he felt more alive somehow. 

Isn't he adorable, folks?
The acting was solid and the cast played their characters well. Dourif as Chucky playing against his daughter Fiona as Nica was especially well done. Sure, the effects weren't seamless, but based on the budget they were working with, they were great. I had heard that this may be Chucky's last chance, as the studio no longer has faith in him as a compelling horror icon, and if this does turn out to be his last hurrah...well, at least it was a damn good one. Kudos to you, Don Mancini. You made Chucky scary again and made me want to go set fire to some other equally creepy dolls at the local mall. So that's it for this review and remember...

I'll be your friend to the end!

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