Title: Cult of Chucky
Director: Don Mancini
Starring: Fiona Dourif, Michael Therriault, Adam Hurtig, Alex Vincent, Jennifer Tilly, Brad Douriff
Plot: Four years on from the events of Curse of Chucky Nica (Fiona Dourif) has been confined to a mental institution after being framed for the murder of her family by Chucky (Brad Douriff). Now transferred to a medium security unit, only to soon find herself tormented once more by the killer doll.
Review: The Seventh instalment in the Chucky franchise its actually quite staggering that there is still any life left in this series and while the other icons at this point were heading to space, crossing over to other franchises or in the case of Pinhead just constantly feel like has just wandered into the wrong movie. Chucky on the other hand has just become a more grotesque visage over the course of the films to the point were he has just been now reduced to a heavily mutated head being kept in the wall safe of series mainstay Andy (Alex Vincent) or has he?
Certainly it’s clear from the start that Mancini much George Romero with his zombie saga that he making these films for the fans rather any kind of critical audience but despite this it’s fun seeing him trying to sew the series together by giving Andy more of a cameo as he’s opens the film on a date which quickly turns sour when his date discovers his troubled past of being tormented by the killer doll with mention of his babysitters murder giving us a flashback to her demise in the first film. Sadly we don’t get to see any more of these classic even though Andy does mention them in the same scene.
Focusing once more on Nia as we pick up her story four years on from Curse of Chucky were she has been confined to a mental institution and now left questioning if Chucky was even real. However being moved to a medium security unit it’s not long before Chucky is up to his usual antics helped largely by the fact that somehow these good guy dolls keep showing up at the facility. Initially as a therapy tool if one which is soon being passed around the residents as Mancini somehow manages to play the long game in dragging out the inevitable reveal that Chucky is very much alive. Considering how we are so deep in the series the fact that he is able to still pull off such mind games with this character really is a credit to Mancini as he really builds the tension by having the usual methods of having Chucky reveal himself such as burning the dolls hand all fail.
The location itself is suitably isolated to make such a small cast effective while the sterile whiles and snow covered landscapes make nice change for the series even if we are denied a rewarding show of blood sprayed across snow. Equally considering that the majority of the potential victims are all paitents helping with the early mind games as a early murder is written off as suicide.
Curse of Chucky had felt in many ways like a reboot for the series and a chance to rework its formula with the more obvious slasher shocks being traded out for genuine tension so it feels like something of a step back in many ways to see the film slipping back into old habits even though the revel of what the cult of the title is certainly an interesting move for the series. Of course with the upcoming remake it did leave me wondering if we’d ever get to see this angle come to fruition especially ending on the cliffhanger of sorts it does. Seeing Andy though potentially being setup as the franchise’s Dr. Loomis is an exciting prospect which sadly doesn’t come to fruition thanks largely to Andy kind of failing in the hero department.
Thankfully the character of Chucky still feels as fresh as ever with Dourif seemingly showing no kind of acting fatigue from playing the character for so long there is certainly fun to be had, more so when he’s as creative a lil psycho as ever giving us an incredible kill sequence involving a skylight and a compressed air cylinder finally delivering the payoff that was sorely missing from the greenhouse kill in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle . The main issue here is that Chucky is clearly here a character being crushed under the weight of his own mythology which is certainly not helped by Mancini’s determination to make everything tie together rather than starting the journey afresh as the previous film had seemingly set things up to be this especially coming to a head when Jennifer Tily’s Tiffany has to confirm that she’s not actually Jennifer Tilly, which is infact a throwback to Seed of Chucky than the kind of baffling logic seen in Oceans Twelve were Julia Roberts imitated Julia Roberts! Regardless it was only after I looked it up on IMDB that this plot element became clear, while certainly not helped by Seed being the forgettable mess that it is.
While Cult is far from the worst entry in the series it’s unquestionably a step down from the previous film and with remake on the Horizon it’s unclear if Mancini’s vision for the franchise will ever materialise despite claims of more film and a TV series to follow whether this will happen or not remains to be seen.