Posts Tagged ‘Don Mancini’

*** This review contains major doll spoilers ***

Nica Pierce has spent the past four years in a mental institution after being framed by Chucky for the murder of her family but Chucky isn’t finished with her yet or Andy.

Director/writer Don Mancini does the impossible and injects life into Part 7 of a series. Mancini and company simply out do themselves here with Cult of Chucky, where as Curse had a striped back Hitchcock feel this has Brian de Palma on a budget visuals with a Cronenberg icky edge and Mancini’s trademark frank humour. I usually recommend films in my final paragraph, but this is must see from the outset, don’t even read this, just rent or buy it.

Summer H. Howell cameos, Fiona Dourif returns and is excellent as the asylum trapped wheelchair bound Nica that no one believes oozing a Sigourney Weaver vibe and echoing Linda Hamilton’s Terminator 2 locked up in danger craziness. In a surprising twist as the plot unfolds and the body count rises Fiona also channels her father’s serial killing character Charles impressively. Actors Adam Hurtig as split personality suffer Malcolm, Zak Santiago’s Carlos and particularly Ali Tataryn as nurse Ashley are notable. But Michael Therriault leaves an impression as Richard Gere-like warped Dr. Foley.

Alex Vincent Returns as Andy Barclay from the original Child’s Play (1988, yes it’s been that long) building on his previous brief cameo in its predecessor Curse of Chucky. There’s an intriguing element of Andy keeping Chucky’s dismembered head in a safe, only to bring it out to torment it for relief. It could only more get more wacky if someone made Child’s Play Human Centipede style and put Chucky’s talking head between a Garbage Pail Kid and Teddy Ruxpin! The icing on the cake is it’s implied that Tiffany has possessed the real Jennifer Tilly, allowing her and her doll likeness to shows up which connects and brings into cannon the other outings namely Bride and Seed of Chucky not made by Mancini with some outlandish writing which makes perfect sense in the context of the series.

It’s not perfect due to some blown out colour correction and unnecessary CGI skyline backdrops but given the budget using a variety of smoke and mirror movie magic Chucky is brought to life with perfect execution aided by modern technology and Brad Dourif’s voice, complete with quips and inventive nasty murders.

There’s a limited amount of locations, a cabin, an asylum reminiscent of TV’s Hannibal and the snowy setting gives this some Kubrick Shining atmospherics. The stark white corridors hark back to the Exorcist III, One Flew Over Cuckoo’s nest, Mancini throws in enough plot points and flashbacks to peak interest. Thankfully it’s played straight for the most part and doesn’t stray into all out comedy territory a-la Bride and Seed.

Fans are treated to multiple Chucky dolls, graphic killings and dark humour but not only that there’s a surprise treat after the credits where another character returns – Andy’s foster sister Kyle from 1990’s Child’s Play 2! Played by the same talented actor Christine Elise giving thrills that Andy’s cameo did in Curse.

All in all leaves you wanting more and too much Good Guy Doll is never a bad thing.

A family gather together for a funeral, only a killer doll has an old score to settle; and blood & mayhem ensue.

Opening in a creepy large house (complete with its own Diamonds are Forever lift), a mysterious death occurs in the first few minutes after a revamped ‘Good Guy’ doll is delivered. From the outset there’s an updated, excellently designed Chucky doll and Joseph Loduca’s melodic, yet eerie, music score sets the tone.

There’s plenty of atmosphere in this installment from series veteran Don Mancini (director/writer), with Curse sharing much with the Psycho films in design and pace. Brad Dourif again voices Chucky. The great one liners are fewer, a bit more poignant and cutting. There’s a few relationship surprises and story twists. Web-cam moment, stitches reveal and closing are particularly memorable, also there’s a great scene after the credits.

Some of the cast are debatably too polished, nevertheless, the horror elements are there and include the original mix of nannie, young child and a killer doll. The child actor Summer H. Howell is strong and wheelchair bound Fiona Douif (daughter of Brad) is notable as Nica.

Many scenes are effective with inbuilt tension and jump scares, notably the shower encounter and dinner gathering. With lingering camera movements and interesting angles, Mancini also leaves plenty to the imagination as some of the set ups take place off screen, that said there are lots of effects, blood and gore on display – decapitation, an electrocution, an empty eyeball socket and an axe attack to name a few.

There are lots of nice touches that are fitting to the modern Chucky doll, that mirror today’s toys, making him all the more menacing when he comes to ‘life’. Pupils dilate, his eyes are bloodshot, walking and running – Chucky is back better, creepier and badder than before. For die hard Child’s Play fans Dourif appears briefly in his serial killer Charles Lee Ray guise, some old photos and newspaper clippings feature Andy and scene’s link direct to the first installment.

What the production has saved on the lack of locations, to it’s credit, the money has been put into the excellent special effects. Mancini returns it to its Child’s Play roots while making references to the rest of the series including a great cameo from one of it’s most colourful characters.

It delivers with its back to horror basics approach, updated effects and Mancini’s Hitchcockian execution and links to its previous counterparts. This instalment is less likely to date than some of its predecessors. Recommended.

Curse of Chucky on IMDb