After Curse of Chucky brought the series back to the series slasher franchise it was originally, Cult of Chucky decides to take the series in a random, bold and very different direction that if handled well, could be full of potential. Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t always stay on the right path to make this as successful as it could be.
After a fantastic beginning which makes links all the way to back to the very first movie, Cult revisits Nica from Curse of Chucky as she is now in a mental asylum for the criminally insane. Through a convoluted but not entirely unbelievable turn of events, a Chucky doll is brought into the asylum and the film begins to kick back into the old slasher tropes, but this time in a much different setting to before.
The setting is part of what makes this movie work so well. The film has never been in this sort of contained environment and it means the other characters/victims are more unusual and have much more creative back stories, from a schizophrenic through to a woman who is obsessed with a child she had killed years earlier. It holds a lot of Chucky potential and although you can see where aspects of the story will lead, it does it in a very creative way.
We also have the best sort of Chucky return, for at least the first third of the movie. This is not the Chucky which has recently plagued the franchise, with a much more comedic leaning rather than a horror one. This is a Chucky who you are genuinely afraid of, meaning this is much more of an effective horror than the franchise has delivered recently.
The movie is clearly still a B-Movie and doesn’t have the budget or cast it had in it’s heyday but Brad Dourif returns as Chucky and delivers the creepy voice that has become synonymous with the character. His daughter Fiona also reprises her role from the last movie, which means there is an effective legacy being built which is now including characters as far back as the original Child’s Play.
You can’t fault the creative and ambitious nature of where the story wants to go but as the “cult” begins to develop, the movie loses it’s way. What could have been a new direction which keeps the series fresh is handled so poorly that it actually cheapens and begins to undo what has been built up so effectively to that point.
There is a great, tense build-up throughout which is also wasted in the finale and then a bold decision, which if handled with care could have been a great twist for the franchise, is played so cheaply and throw-away that it loses it’s edge. The issue is clearly that the franchise is wanting to continue so like Curse, the movie’s finale is more concerned with setting up a sequel than it is wrapping up this story in a way that truly works.
Overall, Cult of Chucky should be applauded for trying to do something new with the franchise and go in a bold, original direction. The setting and character tropes means that the movie is back to being scary, with Chucky a terrifying character again. The issue comes with the finale, which isn’t handled with care and is too concerned with ensuring there is a franchise rather than an effective, single movie.
Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)
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