Four long years have passed since a new Chucky film debuted. Curse of Chucky, the first new instalment in the long-running horror franchise since 2005’s Seed of Chucky, premiered at FrightFest and it opened to rave reviews from both the critics and the fans. It also left things wide open with the surprise reappearance of Andy Barclay (played by original actor Alex Vincent), who hadn’t been since since 1993’s Child’s Play 3 (albeit played by Justin Whalin).
To recap, Curse of Chucky introduced Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif of course) to a new family where he wreaked havoc and murdered everyone apart from wheelchair bound Nica (Fiona Dourif) and her niece Alice (Summer H. Howell). Nica was promptly taken to an insane asylum when no one believed her story about Chucky and Alice was put into foster care. Cult of Chucky picks up with Nica having been in therapy for some time and as she’s starting to show signs of improvement, her doctor (Michael Therriault) decides to move her to a more relaxed facility.
Once there Nica continues therapy but is alarmed when a Good Guy doll is introduced into the group sessions and one of the other patients takes to it as a replacement for her dead child. Convinced that Chucky is coming for her, Nica befriends the other patients at the institution but is Chucky really still alive, or is she delusional?
Following the World Premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest tonight writer/director Don Mancini urged everyone to keep spoilers to themselves and I’m going to honour that. To tell you much more about the plot would ruin the enjoyment of the film and a lot of it hinges on surprises. Two things I can tell you is that Andy is back and so is Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly). How and why they are back I won’t reveal but it’s fun watching the horror franchise come full circle If there’s one thing Cult of Chucky does very well, it’s pay service to the fans who’ve been there since the first Child’s Play movie.
Cult of Chucky is a slower movie than its predecessor and it’s not as straightforward a horror as Curse of Chucky was. There are plenty of scary moments and the gore quota will satisfy fans of the series but there’s also a lot of humour that recalls the Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky tones (although it’s a far better film than the latter). Brad Dourif clearly still relishes delivering the most biting of lines and you can hear the joy in his voice as he settles back into arguably his most famous role.
Fiona Dourif continues to prove herself as a solid and compelling lead. Where many actresses could have gone OTT, Dourif scales it back and she always keeps Nica’s humanity at the heart of the character. Even when things go bat shit crazy (and believe me they go REALLY bat shit crazy), she still shines brightly. It’s a real joy to see Jennifer Tilly and Alex Vincent back in the series too after their smaller roles in Curse of Chucky. Tilly is always an absolute hoot as Tiffany and there’s a real nostalgic quality about seeing Vincent reprising his role once again.
Cult of Chucky made me jump a few times and it made me howl with laughter too. Mancini has a wild imagination clearly and he manages to channel all of his ideas into a film that is a worthy successor to Curse of Chucky. It’s also perhaps his most balls-to-the-wall outing yet but that’s definitely part of its charm. The future of the franchise may be unclear but during the Q&A after the film, the question on everyone’s lips was ‘when will the next one come out?’ Seven films in and Chucky still feels fresh and relevant, and Cult of Chucky is a bonkers love letter to fans that gives plenty of pay off whilst delivering plenty surprises.
Cast: Fiona Dourif, Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Alex Vincent, Michael Therriault, Adam Hurtig Director: Don Mancini Writer: Don Mancini Certificate: 18 Duration: 91 mins
Cult of Chucky is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 23rd October 2017.