Cult of Chucky Review The reason franchise reboots are a thing

2015’s Curse of Chucky was a pleasant surprise. A straight sequel masquerading as a reboot, Curse did a 180 on the straight comedy tone set by Bride and Seed, setting the action in a literal old dark house in the woods and making Chucky creepy again. It worked great until, in the final 15 minutes it decided to introduce brand new Chucky mythology, loop that into established series mythology, connect back to the original movie, catch up with surviving series characters, and open the door for further sequels. Oh, and actually resolve the plot of the current movie. It was needlessly convoluted.

If you share that sentiment at all, then Cult of Chucky will drive you crazy (pun intended). Once again, the setup is extremely promising. Curse survivor and fall-girl for Chucky’s murders, Nica Pierce, is now in a mental institution, where the unrealistically clueless doctor has produced a Chucky doll (of course) for therapy purposes. I love the idea of the Child’s Play series introducing a new, spooky location with each film, like an ever-changing haunted house theme.

Not only that, but Cult weirdly also picks up from the secret, alternate ending of Curse. Here, original series victim Andy Barclay is now a semi-reclusive weirdo whose main hobby is physically tormenting a still-living, disembodied Chucky head that he keeps locked in a safe. It would appear that he’s finally discovered the one true way to contain Chucky forever, so what’s with that other Chucky doll in the mental hospital…?

The film answers this question, but along the way becomes so disjointed and convoluted that it’s actually, for the first time in this series’ history, hard to follow what’s going on. The movie introduces a number of intriguing concepts and then simply leaves them dangling as loose threads. In fact, without giving too much away, neither of the two main plotlines reach resolution at all, leaving it feeling like half a movie stretched to 90 minutes. There are two or three great kill scenes along the way, but that’s spreading things way too thin for a feature.

Chucky is not a character that demands a complex story. He’s a killer doll. You give him a batch of skeptical potential victims, a playground to operate in, and maybe a goal to become human again and there’s your movie. I admire that Chucky has gone on this long without ever being remade or rebooted, but he’s picked up some baggage along the way that is starting to weigh these movies down. We’re seven movies in now; maybe the eighth will send him overseas to terrorize a museum or something.

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