The 'Child's Play' horror franchise was one of many that began earnestly enough but descended into (in this case, intentionally) silly territory, especially in the last few installments. This was a sad way to leave the once respectable Chucky character.
That all changes with 'Curse of Chucky' a direct-to-video sequel written and directed by the series' originator, Don Mancini.
Nina (Fiona Dourif) a paraplegic young woman, gets the mail to find that a Good Guy doll named Chucky has been mailed to her. That's strange but things get even stranger when Nina's mother commits suicide that night by stabbing herself.
Big sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) comes to the mansion with her husband and daughter to console the grieving Nina. It turns out, they also want her to sell the house and split the money because Barb's family is in dire straits, financially.
As this dysfunctional family (and a few extras) stay the night at his creepy mansion during a thunderstorm, something still isn't right. People keep dropping like flies. Perhaps it could have something to do with the doll that we have all come to know.
As alluded to in this review's intro, this recaptures the original film's dark, straightforward tone. It's Chucky, so there some quips, but that is toned down substantially. Still, a few details from 'Bride of Chucky' and 'Seed of Chucky' are acknowledged, so this doesn't sweep everything under the rug. That also explains the doll's updated complexion.
The spooky house setting is always a great backdrop for a horror movie. They tend to have so many dark nooks and crannies that accommodate all sorts of scares. Granted, we go into this knowing exactly what is going bump in the night and there will always be something a little silly/unscary about an 18 inch tall walking plastic doll. For the horror limits of the premise, this really makes the most of it.
If you are a longtime fan of the series, one thing this entry does is to give context to the original movie and to explain the previously mostly unexplored about Charles Lee Ray. That level of effort was unexpected this late in the series. One could certainly argue that the exposition slows the third act down. It's also weird to see Brad Dourif wearing a wig and pretending that it is 25 years ago.
Speaking of the Dourifs, Brad's daughter Fiona is a fine lead for this indeed.
Special features include: commentary, a gag reel, deleted scenes, and a making of featurette.
Whether 'Curse of Chucky' is the final installment or a sign of things to come, it is a very worthy addition to the series. Considering the track record that direct-to-video sequels have, that is nothing short of impressive. Budgetary and time restrictions can be overcome with a good story, script, cast and people behind the camera. Don Mancini has taken full control and all is right with this corner of the horror universe.
Rated R/Unrated 97 minutes 2013