7 October 2017 | Minus_The_Beer
Chuck Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
The old adage that "big things come in small packages" has definitely proved to be true for the "Child's Play" films. Somehow, against all odds, this little guy has legs, becoming the most enduring and consistent horror movie franchise in recent memory, spanning and surviving three decades, without retcons or reboots. A big part of that success lies at the feet of writer turned writer- director, Don Mancini, who has been at the helm since the beginning, ensuring consistency throughout each installment. Also along for the ride since the beginning is the indispensable Brad Dourif as killer turned killer-doll, Chucky. Dourif's manic and often hilarious vocal performance combined with Mancini's "anything goes" sensibility makes each film a true pleasure to watch. All of that fan-pleasing, funny-bone teasing goodness is back for the seventh film, "Cult of Chucky."
Picking up where 2013's "Curse of Chucky" left off, "Cult of Chucky" finds Nica (Fiona Dourif) now committed to a mental institution. Nica has been pummeled by electro-shock therapy into believing she killed her whole family, so it's up to Chucky's original nemesis, Andy (played by a now fully-grown Alex Vincent), to come to her rescue and put childish things away, once and for all. Along the way, he has to contend with Chucky's on-again/off-again lover, Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), who has now inhabited the body of Jennifer Tilly. Confused? Well, watch the other movies.
Though it's the second film in the series to be sent direct-to- video, the quality has most certainly not dipped with "Cult of Chucky." Mancini returns to the director's chair for the third time, and his visual style is very much informed by his time spent working on NBC's short-lived "Hannibal." Along for the ride is special effects guy Tony Gardner, who turns in some of his most impressive work to date. The film is riddled with practical effects that are not only convincing, but inspiring. If a DTV sequel can have special effects that put similar theatrical releases to shame, maybe there's hope for the future of the genre after all. On the acting front, Fiona Dourif digs deeper into her character and really seems to relish going slowly mad. The elder Dourif, meanwhile, is as crazy and charming as ever as the voice of everyone's killer doll. Vincent's return to the franchise is definite cause for celebration. His performance is a little wooden, but when you consider he gave up acting some 25 years ago, it's easy to cut him some slack. His presence is enough, as far as this fan is concerned. Speaking of presence, Jennifer Tilly is still an absolute bombshell, and her character feels very lived-in and is now an essential component of the franchise.
The film has a few surprises you won't see coming, and you'll definitely want to stay until the very end, friend. Like "Curse" before it, "Cult of Chucky" plays the fan service game without insulting its audience. There's plenty of fresh ideas stirred among the nostalgia, and Mancini's mythology will probably require an extensive road map going forward. The humor is good, the horror is well-done and the film looks and sounds appropriately cold and crisp (shout out to composer Joe Loduca, of "Evil Dead" fame). It's all in good, gory fun. Fans who have made it this far will find this "Cult" worthy of worship.