Four years ago, Don Mancini unleashed Curse of Chucky on us and I absolutely loved it. It was a reset but not a remake. It didn’t ignore previous entries and fully embraced its history and as a horror fan, it was great to see that at least one of the infamous horror franchise greats was not ashamed by its past entries, instead taking a bold step forward into new yet satisfying territory. Curse was a great return to the series’ roots (and helped me put aside the tonally awkward Seed).
So it was with great anticipation that I approached the newest instalment of the series as it held its world premiere at this year’s Frightfest celebrations in London. And while the film is a good ride, I think Curse set the bar very high indeed and Cult suffers living in its shadow.
Not to say that there isn’t fun to be had in the film. Cult is unashamedly gory (more so than ever for a Chucky film in places), and Mancini again dishes up some deliciously wonderful dialogue throughout (Chucky wasn’t a fan of the Hannibal TV series getting canned…you hear that NBC!), while he also demonstrates a strong continuing grasp of visuals in his return as director too (it’s all very clinical as you’d expect given the setting).
The story here is that our tragic heroine of the last film Nica (Fiona Dourif), is in a psychiatric hospital after being found guilty of Chucky’s previous rampage. And everything is going fine in her recovery….until her Doctor decides to bring in an all too familiar Good Guy doll to therapy sessions to help her confront her past. Which, as you can guess, is where the bloody fun starts as Nica and the worthy supporting cast are followed around by our favourite killer doll.
Along for the ride again is the ever formidable Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), as well as the proper return of Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent who we saw teased at the end of Curses’ post credit scene and which forms an important plot point to this film).
However, despite his return, the only criticism is that his involvement isn’t as impactful as fans may expect and he feels sidelined when the muddled finale comes around as it struggles to give reason to why all hell is breaking loose in a satisfying way.
However, these quibbles aside, Chucky’s latest bloody adventures prove there is still lots of life left in the old doll, while lots of surprises best left not knowing about until you watch the film bring an extra buzz to proceedings (there’s a killer post-credit scene that will delight fans of one of the original three films, not saying which though!). Brad Dourif is still on fine form as everyone’s favourite foul mouthed doll while additionally the title of the film gives lots of possibilities for future films!
Overall, a muddled third act doesn’t distract from a solid first and second half and gives plenty for audiences to enjoy – Good fun!