It seems like 2017 has had a resurgence in “killer doll” horror movies. There was Annabelle Creation for which you can see my review here), apparently there was another Puppet Master movie, and now Cult of Chucky. Okay, that’s only two and a half movies, but I’m calling it a resurgence, and in that spirit, I’m going to write my second killer doll movie review, Cult of Chucky (Unrated Version).
In this review, I try to keep things in general terms and not give away too much of the story, but what constitutes a “spoiler” differs from one person to the next. Consider yourself Spoiler Warned.
It started out well, with a small and fairly subtle recounting of the events of the previous movies. I thought the effects used on the doll in the opening scene were great. The dialog could have been handled a little better though, which I went on to realize would be consistent through the rest of the movie. It was an intriguing setup and I might have been interested in watching that movie but, as I will get into later, it had nothing to do with the film I saw.
Instead we’re brought to a mental hospital where our protagonist, Nica, is being informed by her physician that she’ll be moved to a medium security facility… Then we’re brought to a new mental hospital where she meets an orderly who, after going out of his way to tell her that he doesn’t like her, decides to tell her his life’s story, and give her a present. None of which matters, because this introduction is his biggest scene and, after that point, he immediately becomes a background character.
Shortly after, there’s a sex scene out of nowhere featuring our protagonist. I’m aware that gratuitous sex is a horror movie staple, but you’ll see what I mean. It’ll be over before the phrase “what the hell…” can even make it out of your mouth. Not to mention, she seems to enjoy herself quite a bit, considering her doctors just told us (and demonstrated) less than ten minutes earlier that she was totally paralyzed and can’t feel a thing from the waist down. I believe they referred to the lower half of her body as “a pin cushion”. Just sayin’.
After this point the story actually begins and I’ll leave it to you to pull apart the movie on your own.
As for the positives, I liked the camera work and sets. I thought the sterile black and white look of the hospital setting really made the colors stand out when they came up. The sound and score of the movie was decent as well. The special effects were well done, though a few scenes where the more pristine Chucky face was speaking seemed somehow unrealistic. It’s hard to tell though if that might have been what they were going for. I’m not actually sure what a realistically possessed talking doll looks like.
The death scenes were creative and interesting, containing the right amount of over-the-top gore, with the hint of dark humor that is familiar to fans of this franchise. Chucky was represented well, even if he was really the only interesting character in the movie (maybe him and the older schizophrenic lady, she was pretty good too). Further to this point, I thought our protagonist Nica’s best moments were at the very end of the movie when she “wasn’t herself”.
Really the script seemed to be the main issue with this movie. As a writer, it’s tough to watch a multi-million-dollar movie and see issues with plot and dialog. I’m not even talking about the intangible qualities that can make an acceptable story into a great one. That sort of thing is more subjective and I wouldn’t proclaim to be an expert on it. I’m talking about basic stuff here.
For example, why was Andy even in this movie? He was in the opening scenes. He had his own side story going on for a while. He made his way into the setting of the main story (in one of the most implausible ways I could imagine). He didn’t interact with any of the main characters in a significant way. He simultaneously created a solution and a problem that immediately cancelled each other out and had no effect on the plot of the movie whatsoever. And finally, at the end of the movie, he was a loose end. His story didn’t even resolve. Is he staying there forever now? On what grounds?
It’s just sloppy. You don’t have to be an expert to see it.
As a whole, the movie isn’t so bad though. If you are a fan of the Child’s Play/Chucky movies, this is another one. Chucky is pretty cool in it, they brought Andy back, Jennifer Tilly’s there, and there’s some good old-fashioned brutality. It’s worth seeing, as long as you take it for what it is and don’t look into it too far.
I give it three Chuckys out of five (Oh, don’t look too much into that part either).