This fan poster rules!
- Don Mancini! This guy has chops! Directing chops, story chops. For a non theatrical horror release, the seventh in a series, you will be amazed at the sure hand he brings to this. This guy knows Chucky, and knows how to push the series in new directions, but still give the audience what they want from a Child's Play movie. He wrote every film, and it is one of the too rare instances where the show runner actually understands what makes his movies tick with an audience. What if Ridley Scott actually had a clue why people liked Alien? What if Lucas knew why everyone adored the original trilogy? Mancini gets it.
- So, I admit I got lost on the series around Bride of Chucky. I was hyped, but let down by the jokey tone of that one. Seed of Chucky? I sort of dug that one because it was so different then what the original was. The difference in style between Child's Play and Seed of Chucky is so black to white that it is fascinating to chart how a series evolves and changes. Mancini started to direct with Seed, and what I like about him is he is very clear on the kind of movie he is making. He goes for it, full speed. Seed isn't my favorite, but resurrecting the series after a 9 year hiatus, and getting the tone back on track with Curse of Chucky, was genius. Good move Universal. Good move Mancini, staying involved to steer the ship. These movies could be garbage, like the Wrong Turn sequels, but instead they are made by a real filmmaker who respects the material and the fans!
- So Seed was pure silliness, and Curse was a chamber drama, and now we have a psycho sexual thriller. By changing the setting, and the sub-genre, you get so many fun opportunities and situations for Chucky to react to. How does Chucky fair in a situation where he is just one of a dozed unbalanced individuals? Setting this in an asylum makes this very fun. If you are a schizophrenic, and you are used to seeing weirdness everyday, a doll walking around is just a typical Tuesday. Mancini doesn't throw away all this potential and actually milks it for all it's worth. Again, bravo sir.
- Fiona Dourif makes this work. Her character is fascinating, and she has the talent to anchor the story in real emotion, and confusion. She is a broken person, full of self loathing and angst, trying to make peace with the now. Whatever she has to do to live with herself, to navigate these rapids she is tossed into, she will. She's a survivor, and a great protagonist, and you root for her because she wants to do the right thing, but is against a system that sees her as scum of the earth, and has been so convincing of it that she now believes it herself. Even though she knows it was that little plastic doll, she has put that aside, and submitted to their opinion of her. The world has beat her down. When the killings start again, she is vindicated, but not how you would want to be, she is cursed. To keep it vague and spoiler free, her next chapter is both hopeful and nightmarish at the same time.
- There are a lot of ideas in this. Why did they bother to make it this good. I am sort of amazed how much I liked this. Sure, I am a fan of the series, but let's face it, horror fans are a beaten down lot. We take in so much terribleness, are taken advantage of again and again, so to see a Part 7 that actually is happy to be there, happy you showed up, and is excited to show you a good time, to continue a story you have invested 29 years into with some unexpected TLC... I'm just not used to being treated so nice, I suppose.
- The acting in this is pretty great, especially the sympathetic doctor played by Michael Theriault and the always angry patient Grace Lynn Kung. Grace's change from skeptic to believer is very entertaining! And the doctor, no matter how off the rails he goes, you get the feeling that he never thinks of himself as anything but a great guy. By making everyone emotionally fragile, we get great character interactions and tension. What we don't get are stupid cliche asylum images were people are acting cartoonish and banging their heads against the wall or chasing invisible butterflies. Who isn't sick of that? It's insulting to mental patients to use them like horror props. So, I appreciated that they treated them like real people, kinda like the teens in Dream Warriors.
- Tony Gardner handled the Chucky duties in this, and Chucky's look is a step up from the last one. I really liked how he moved, the puppetry was top notch. Some really great characterization going on here. Old school puppets. They could have CGd the hell out of Chucky, but instead they brought in a master to make it work, some of the shots look like they maybe removed guys in green leotards out of the shot, but that's how it should be used, as tech removal. Thank you, movie.
- The story opens up Chucky's powers, but! don't worry, it's really cool. If you are a fan, you are really going to like where this goes. It's not a Resident Evil situation where, oh, now Alice can do anything, and there are 50 of her, so who cares. Cult of Chucky knows how far to push it.
- THE GORE! SO GOOD! There is a drill to the head that is up there with the great slasher kills. All practical and nasty! Horror movies need to pay attention, to keep it real, to keep it rubber.
- I didn't even mention the return of Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay! You got a little tease at the end of Curse that he may be back, and lo and behold, here he is! All grown up and actually really good. You know, this is fan service, but it feels good! Continuity feels good! Like all those Fango obsessed years were not a waste! Vindicated! He is cool. What they did with his character is so cool. What happens to one of these slasher movie survivors in a world where you can google their name and get the whole slanted story. Hard to make friends, ya know. He's a recluse, and like Ripley, his life has been so dominated by this unstoppable antagonist, his relationship to Chucky has ripened into a sick love/hate affection.
Closing Thought: Tom Holland went on record that he came up with everything that was cool about the original. If Don Mancini was a hack, he would not have been able to keep these wheels turning for 29 years, and keep reinventing the story and keeping it fresh. His skills as a storyteller has me excited for Part 8! Streets of Chucky?