Thursday, October 31, 2013

In short: Curse of Chucky (2013)

One of the more peculiar facts in horror films is that the Child's Play/Chucky movies are one of the most consistent franchises in the genre. In quality, at least, the films never tend to disappoint, though they don't reach the quality of the very best entries of the more variable series. But then there aren't that many horror films on a level with the original Halloween. I suspect the main reason for their consistency is that the movies are still written (and in this case directed) by Chucky-creator Don Mancini, and not by some hired hand who couldn't give a damn.

After diving as deeply into the meta humour rabbit hole as possible in the last two movies, the newest Chucky film plays out rather more seriously and tightly, the still sardonic sense of humour this time around standing in service of what mostly is a tight, old-fashioned horror film taking for the most part place during the course of a single night and in a single place. That set-up is most probably just a way to cope with a limited budget, but, as good writers and directors tend to do, Mancini turns the flaw into a virtue and goes all unity of time and place on us, finding joy in perfectly executed old thriller tropes. In fact, the film's only weakness is the coda after the actual plot has run its course and the story of the movie is placed in the Chucky mythology (apparently, all of the films before are supposed to haven taken place in the same world, which leads to questions the film at hand can't even begin to answer) in a way that makes as much sense as anything but that is neither very interesting nor actually seems to belong into the highly focused rest of the film.

That rest, or rather main course, of the film, is very effective for its part, demonstrating what happens when you let a killer doll loose on a dysfunctional family (with Fiona Dourif as an excellent wheelchair bound and ill final girl). A priest is killed, other people are also killed of course, a few expectations are subverted, and Chucky quotes Nietzsche. It's all in a day's work in killer doll land, and it's a rather good day.

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