Posts Tagged ‘killer dolls’

*** 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.

The Boy Movie Poster*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A Montana woman, Greta, gets a temporary job as a nanny and to her surprise is paid to look after a porcelain doll, which is treated like a living child by his parents.

Director William Brent Bell offers a creepy tale with plenty of shock scares. The typical British James Herbert-like setting of a large British aristocratic home with mature gardens adds to the sinister atmosphere. Lauren Cohan’s performance is excellent as Greta. As things go bump in the night with objects seemingly moving around reminiscent of Child Play, Dolly Dearest and Annabel to name a few, Cohan sells the fear factor. Bell ‘s production is polished, aided by its sound design, Bear McCreary’s score (who appears to be knocking them out in his sleep) and Brian Berdan’s editing add to the pace and atmosphere throughout.

Written by Stacey Menear, Greta’s back story and motivations are believable but it leads to a somewhat inevitable Cape Fear-esque appearance by Cole, Greta’s ex, played by Ben Robson. Rupert Evans gives a great understated performance as as Malcolm thanks to Delay’s dialogue. Still grieving for their son, both Jim Norton as Mr. Heelshire and Diana Hardcastle s Mrs. Heelshire are delightfully creepy and emulate the odd couple in Dolls (1987) as their intentions are tragically revealed. Notable are the scenes where Greta demonstrates Brahms’ ability to move by himself to Malcolm and when Greta is locked in the attic by an unseen force.

Although the lath reveals the house is state-side and not British, the excellent interiors and grounds really sell it. As with my incessant mention of other films it covers a lot of horror tropes. Those familiar with Housebound (2014) and an array of others will see the twist coming a mile off. If anything the rushed and jarring reveal takes away the suspense and tension finely built by Bell in the first three quarters with a Halloween masked phantom closing. That said, to Bell’s credit the ghoul remains masked retaining The Boy’s mystery. But the star of the show is the Brahms doll, which is just plain unnerving.

Those with pediophobia may want to avoid this at all costs but for the rest of us it’s a solid horror thriller that works best when its honing the psychological aspect and delivering jump scares.

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

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