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It was excited when Cult of Chucky full movie was announced. The franchise would continue on in its newer style with what we really want: a creepy doll saying inappropriate things while killing people. One would think a request like that would be child’s play, right?
You may not notice, but Chucky had a bit of a comeback a few years ago with the straight to video release of Curse of Chucky. Believe it or not, after a string of really terrible Chucky movies, writer/director Don Mancini actually recaptured some of the magic that made his original trilogy somewhat creepy. He couched Chucky in a haunted house slasher, ramped up the quality kills and delivered a screenplay that was less camp and more horror. He even give us more as ditching most of the history of the series, or you could said he basically rebooted the thing.
After the events of the last movie, Nica Pierce has been committed to a psychiatric ward where she is convinced by a sketchy doctor that she murdered her entire family and Chucky was just made up. Of course, she’s not actually insane and Chucky arrives at the hospital to finish his job. This time, he’s got power up as he being able to jump into anyone’s body including the multiple Good Guy dolls that happen to turn up throughout Cult of Chucky film.
The real problem with Cult of Chucky movie is that it assumes that there is actually a cult of Chucky out there. By that, the movie plays out like there’s some rabid fan base who has been chomping at the bit to see these characters return and have some sort of conclusion fleshed out for the series. Mancini writes and directs the movie like everyone cares deeply about these people coming back when all we may kind of be interested in is Chucky going on a killing spree.
Due to that assumption, Cult of Chucky movie is full of dialogue, exposition and completely lacking of what makes we watch the movie: good kills and god awful Chucky one-liners. While there is some blood and gore flying around the screen, it never gets all that creative or scary. A sequence in which Chucky rips out a willing woman’s tongue is possibly the only unique kill, and it just feels more awkward than anything else. Instead of kill, we get some weird sexual assault stuff between Nica and her psychiatrist. The few moments of Chucky dropping one-liners work out is fine, and it all thanks to Brad Dourif to voice Chucky delivering in his usual style, but this has got to be the weakest of his pun-filled outings.
One of the things that Curse of Chucky did really well to help reinvigorate the franchise was put Chucky into a new context. Instead of straight slasher, the movie played more like a haunted house invasion horror. This brought a new angle to the deadly doll and helped veer the character back to something scary. Mancini appears to want to do this again in Cult of Chucky by turning this entry into a mental institute horror movie, but he fail. The psych ward that the movie takes place in isn’t old and disturbing, but super modern. It looks more like the bridge of J.J. Abrams Enterprise than the location for a horror movie. With the last movie actually working I was excited for the series to move forward with a new take that was scary and still wonderfully cheesy. However, what we got was a self-aggrandizing movie made by Mancini for fans that weren’t clamoring for that at all.