This review contains spoilers.
In a few short months, one of my favorite horror franchises is turning 30 years old, and what an adventure these decades with Chucky have been. Don Mancini has faithfully penned each of the seven slasher flicks, which in itself is mind-boggling when compared to the other horror franchises with similar longevity that have been kicked around like a hackey sack on a college quad.
But despite consistent creative control, not every installment has been a banger. Bride was definitely not a highlight, but it at least featured some decently gruesome killing and a few quotable lines here and there. Seed is borderline unwatchable dogshit, and I don’t want to talk about it. Curse was kind of slow but really redemptive. In vibe, it pivoted away from the previous two films’ straight satirical attitude and took itself more seriously in a way that hankered back to the first three.
But, you know, we’re here to talk about the most recent installment, Cult of Chucky, and I have to admit that my feelings are mixed.
I went into this film really wanting — and perhaps expecting, which is shame on me — to love it. And I don’t think I truly did, which left me really confused. A straight up sequel to the redemptive Curse that also promised cameos from beloved Andy and take-it-or-leave-it Tiffany? How could I have prepared not to love it?
The film takes place in an all-white asylum that reminded me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nica is now convinced that she’s a schitzo who slaughtered her family and then tried to pin it on her niece’s inanimate toy. Her therapist is super creepy and sexually inappropriate, there’s a lot of group therapy with a lot of other fucked up crazies, yadda yadda. It has all the fixins for a damn good time. Except that it isn’t.
Like Curse, the first half of the movie was basically me, excitedly waiting from the comfort of my couch for something interesting to happen. But when the action started with the arrival of a Good Guy doll to the looney bin — a Good Guy doll that we knew couldn’t be the Chucky because he was being held captive by Andy — I started to fall off of the wagon. And that’s mostly because nothing made any sense whatsoever from that point on.
Listen, I know this is the Chucky franchise we’re talking about. I know I’m criticizing a lack of logic in the seventh sequel of a story about a possessed toy that kills more or less indiscriminately. But you can’t say that Chucky didn’t at least have a mission through it all. Chucky/Charles isn’t just some evil SOB whose sick kink is murdering people as a doll. He wants a body!
Yes, he usually dies at the end of each film and somehow resurrects as the same Good Guy doll, which is super confusing, and I know that’s not the only logical issue. I’m aware of how hypocritical this is, but just don’t think about that right now. Instead, think about all of these other logical issues that I have a problem with.
Before Cult, there was only one possessed Chucky doll at a time, and he was a total asshole. But in Cult, there are multiple possessed Chuckys, and they’re all really collaborative. My question isn’t even “how?” (although that’s a good question, too), but “why?” Why are all of the Chuckys working together? They should all have the same need to be in control, the same alpha personality, the same desire to find a host body because they’re all literally the same. Multiple Chuckys should almost certainly lead to a bloodbath between them. Right? Am I right?
Additionally, if this was always an option, why wasn’t it exercised sooner? Perhaps back in Child’s Play 2 when Andy and Chucky are literally running around a factory filled with Good Guy dolls, just begging to be made into an army? Perhaps Chucky could have avoided losing most of his limbs before ultimately being melted down into gooey plastic. Hmm.
And — spoiler alert — Chucky does get a body in the end here. Nica’s body. Except that now, Nica can walk, which I guess proves that paralysis is a state of mind and not a physiological ailment. Tight.
I guess Chucky finally getting into a body is supposed to represent the “evolution” of the franchise. Except here’s the thing: I don’t want the franchise to evolve.
These films have been anchored in the fact that Chucky was never able to actualize his body-snatching mission, dooming him to occupy a hilariously filthy doll who waddles around killing people left and right and spitting out great one-liners in the process. I don’t want to watch a human acting like Chucky and killing people. I want watch a goddamn puppet doll with a potty mouth killing people.
Based on the fact that the movie ends in a car with Charles in Nica’s body, Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany in the driver’s seat, Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany the Bride doll in the backseat, and a slew of random Chucky dolls still running around in the asylum, it’s probably safe to assume that the next film is going to be a fuck show of Chucky/Tiffany dolls and humans running around slaughtering the masses, purpose TBD.
Unfortunately, I just don’t want to watch that movie. Maybe that’s the biggest issue I had with this movie. Maybe it’s the fact that it tasted like change, and change is always bad. When Child’s Play turned into Chucky and we got Bride and Seed, change was bad. And now, with Chucky dolls multiplying and Charles finally getting into a real human body? Yeah, that’s bad, too.
Or maybe I disliked the movie because the only reason these logical issues bothered me is because I wasn’t fed a reason not to be one hundred percent distracted by them. This installment gave me no reason whatsoever to play along. On top of that, the kills were just alright, and I can’t remember even one signature Chucky one-liner, probably because there weren’t any. It was a bummer all the fuck around. And that just blows.