Since 1988, the Childsplay series has scared the image of a wholesome child's toy, director Don Mancini continues to push out sequels upon sequels of everyone's favorite killer toy- Chucky. The seventh installment of the Chucky franchise, Cult of Chucky, was released just this month on October 4th, just in time to add it to your watchlist, and as always it delivers the iconic humor, obscure kills, and the ever so beautiful Jennifer Tilly as Chucky’s second in command.
So the plot of the movie is simple. Chucky takes his reign of terror to a mental hospital after the survivor of the last film, Nika, is committed for the murders. Why a mental hospital you may ask? Because in the hospital “no one questions a talking doll” (paraphrased from the director himself).
So now that we know the plot, we go in for the experience.
When it first opens up we see multiple flashbacks wrapped into a scene with Andy Barclay (played by Alex Vincent) and for some odd reason, the way it begins is pleasing to me. The discussion at hand is about political standpoints- more specifically the right to bare arms. A little while later in the film, there is also reference to a character’s “husband”. I can not pinpoint why, exactly, but the fact it is so subtly modern is pleasing.
When you go into a Chucky movie, it is expected for it to be lying somewhere in the middle of the scale between kill porn (like Wrong Turn) and a classic. (Nightmare on Elm Street), of course it could be argued that it is a classic, however it does not reach that personal level for me. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with the humor in the film. I always thought that if they could get Chucky’s character right, they could place him anywhere and it would be an instant addition, and while this setting is not all too obscure, it does not hinder the point I am about to make.
When I hear of another Chucky movie, I continue to get more and more worried it will eventually be awful and not worth the time (or money), however Chucky’s humor keeps reeling me back in. Chucky is the iconic villain that is serious about his job and always finds a way to make some comment in the process of gutting some poor man in the street, and that is why we love him. Cult of Chucky does not fall short on that, and in fact was pleasantly surprising in how it was delivered and the title was conveyed. Watching the trailer, it is a mystery where exactly “cult” is being derived from, but rest assured it is worth the wait to find out, and very humorous once you do.
Something I caught on to as well was small references towards one of Brad Dourif’s (the voice of Chucky’s) earlier works by the name of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, based off the novel by Ken Kesey. I’m not quite sure just how intentional it was, but there are brief mentions of Gum as well as Chucky referring to the hospital as a “f***ing cuckoo's nest” while interacting with a patient. This could be just a coincidence of wording, but it humored me.
The kids were also as expected- clever and bloody, bloody, bloody. I have a fairly strong stomach, but a certain kill involving compressed oxygen my my jaw drop and face twist. I do believe this would be the first movie in the franchise that I felt bad for a victim, and I did not expect that much going in.
One thing that I found the last installment lacked was Jennifer Tilly. Say what you will about Bride or Seed but I find Tiffany Valentine to be an adorable character, and Jennifer brings her to life with a lovable and cynical performance that a movie without her (except for the last few minutes) just felt odd. Prior to seeing Curse, I had not expected to see her but was pleasantly surprised even if it was only a few moments, and Cult only surprised me more.
While the trailer was not misleading, it certainly did not hint to what was in store for Tiffany’s character in this movie- which is just how it should be. Often, trailers give too much information in the forefront about the plot and involvement and leave nothing to be guessed, but rest assured Tiffany fans- you won’t be disappointed. (there may even be a “jennifer” joke in it worth a chuckle).
The ending Cult left much to be wondered what with Chucky’s new look and the unlikely visitor that hitched a ride. It leaves me to wonder if we could see Glen-Glenda in the future despite the idea that it “never happened”?
Overall, I would rate Cult of Chucky:
While it may not be the best movie in the franchise (which could be debated any which way you would like it) it is certainly a Chucky movie. It has the cheesy humor, the one liners, the blood and gore and obscure kills. If you are going in expecting a masterpiece, lower your standards, but if you are going in for the average Chucky film that’s there for amusement, and are a fan of the franchise as a whole, it will do it justice.