So, with my reduced writing time this Halloween season, there have been several horror movies I’ve watched on a whim, started reviewing in my head, and then realized I’d never have time to sit down and write a proper review. That makes me sad, and instead of letting these thoughts go to waste, I figure I’ll take the time to at least whip out a few short, stream-of-consciousness style reviews of horror films you can watch on Netflix Instant this October.
I’m a big fan of the original Child’s Play. It’s a classic evil doll movie (a subgenre that doesn’t get enough play, if you ask me) that introduced us to a new horror icon in Chucky. While scrolling through Netflix I came across 2013’s Curse of Chucky and realized for the first time that I had seen every other entry in the series but this one. I remember in the years leading up to Curse of Chucky’s release that rumors abound about a Child’s Play remake/reboot. For a while it looked they were keen on remaking the original film, without Brad Dourif as Chucky no less. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Curse of Chucky is released direct to video, with Brad Dourif in the role once more. I watched this mainly out of curiosity, to see just what the hell was going on with this franchise.
For the first two acts, Curse of Chucky feels very much like a reboot. The Chucky doll simply arrives at the home of a new family, no longer sporting the now iconic facial scars and stitching, and no continuity is established with the previous films. More importantly, the tone has shifted back to straight up slasher horror with dark comedy elements as opposed to the full on comedy of the previous two entries. In this sense, Curse of Chucky really works. The opening scene is a spectacular example of classical slasher horror. Just as in the original Child’s Play, Chucky’s reveal as a living presence is drawn out until about the halfway point, letting suspense do the work. It’s all in good, gory fun.
But then, suddenly, in the third act they decide to connect everything to ALL the previous films in a display of plot vomit that totally robs the film of its momentum. The change is so jarring that I actually have a theory that this film got a good ways into production as a full reboot, but was changed into a sequel at some point during filming. It would explain both Brad Dourif’s almost total absence from the first act and the noticeable tonal shift in the third.
Still, if you like Chucky, or killer doll movies in general, you could do a lot worse. Curse of Chucky is quite a bit better than you’d expect.