Cult of Chucky Blu-ray Review
Four years ago, killer doll Chucky emerged after a nine-year hiatus in CURSE OF CHUCKY, a surprisingly strong addition that ranks as one of the series’ best. That entry would have been a fitting conclusion, considering the post-credits surprise in which Andy, the protagonist of the first three movies making his first appearance since 1991, blows Chucky’s head to plastic smithereens. But there is indeed a faithful fanbase, and so, too, a CULT OF CHUCKY.
CULT OF CHUCKY picks up a handful of years after the events of CURSE OF CHUCKY, with the pint-sized doll now living with Andy (Alex Vincent, in his fourth appearance as the character). To clarify: Chucky (voiced as always by Brad Dourif) is merely a head that Andy keeps in a vault in his home. Still, the head talks and so can still dish out insults and initiate carnage.
Elsewhere, Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif, daughter of Brad), the final girl from CURSE OF CHUCKY, has been sent to a mental institution for the murders that Chucky committed. Subjected to group therapy, she shares much time with Malcolm (Adam Hurtig, TRENCH 11), who has multiple personalities, Claire (Grace Lynn Kung, MISS SLOANE), who has a destructive history with fire, Madeline (Elisabeth Rosen, THE ABCS OF DEATH), who is responsible for her child’s death, and Angela (Marina Stephenson Kerr, TV series CHANNEL ZERO), who isn’t entirely sure she can be seen. These folks are of course there as props for Chucky to slice and dice–and quite elaborately so, in one instance involving a skylight–so audiences shouldn’t get too invested in their well-being.
Who they will root for (other than Chucky, of course) is Nica, a victim from her first appearance. Nica proved a strong character who was easy to want to outwit Chucky, similar to Andy, who has been turned in a new direction as a guardian angel type for Nica. These are interesting characters in the franchise; they deserve better than what they’ve been lumped into.
CURSE OF CHUCKY simply isn’t scary. The parts are all there–Dourif lands every line, the stakes for the protagonist are raised, the kills are cool–but there’s not much to latch onto here. It’s just another movie with a calf-high doll going around with a knife. The screenwriters try to amp up the chills by including multiple Chuckys, but this visual disturbance was done to a degree already in CHILD’S PLAY 2 in the factory sequence. Take that away and it’s hard to give credit where the filmmakers so badly want it.
Don Mancini returns as director after having helmed 2013’s CURSE OF CHUCKY and 2004’s SEED OF CHUCKY. (He served as writer on the first four, all of which had different directors.) Mancini has a grasp on what makes the murderous doll tick and he is clearly a fan of the character. But the mark is missed almost completely–it’s not as scary as the first two, not as campy as SEED OF CHUCKY, not as fun as most of them. The series, as it did after CHILD’S PLAY 3, needs a jolt, another reason to continue. Fortunately, Mancini and company include a neat twist that could point the franchise in the fresh direction it now badly needs.
Video: 1.781: in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video presentation is clean and offers fine details and strong black levels.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French DTS Digital Surround 5.1; Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Dialogue comes through nicely, while the sound effects and music cues prove effective.
Rated Version (1 hr. 31 mins.)
Unrated Version (1 hr. 30 mins.)
Feature commentary with director/writer/executive producer Don Mancini and head puppeteer/associate producer Tony Gardner: Mancini and Gardner offer a fun and thorough track that will please fans.
Inside the Insanity of CULT OF CHUCKY (6:43): This featurette looks at the character of Chucky, as well as some production bits.
Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky (5:03) covers how the doll is brought to life.
The Dollhouse (7:37): Various cast and crew members reflect on their involvement.
Deleted Scenes (5:36): There are three here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Nurse Carlos Sells Photos of Nica,” “Madeleine’s Prescription” and “Nurse Carlos Makes Amends.” All are available with optional commentary by Mancini.