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Cult of Chucky Blu-Ray Review

October 4, 2017 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Cult of Chucky
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Cult of Chucky Blu-Ray Review  

*Brad Dourif as Chucky
*Fiona Dourif as Nica Pierce
*Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay
*Grace Lynn Kung as Claire
*Summer H. Howell as Alice Pierce
*Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany
*Michael Therriault as Dr. Foley
*Elisabeth Rosen as Madeleine
*Adam Hurtig as Michael/Malcolm

Story: Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica Pierce is erroneously convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new therapeutic “tool” to facilitate his patients’ group sessions — an all-too-familiar “Good Guy” doll with an innocently smiling face — a string of grisly deaths begins to plague the asylum, and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy Barclay, Chucky’s now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany, Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.

The Chucky franchise is an oddity in the world of horror. Nearly every other franchise by now, especially those that dominated the 1980s, has been rebooted. In some cases it’s been multiple times like the Texas Chainsaw or Halloween movies. And yet Chucky and his Child’s Play films are running with the same continuity 29 years after their debut. Not only that, but at least in the world that Don Mancini created, it makes sense. Chucky’s motivations have changed over the years but he’s essentially remained the same through victim after victim.

The franchise also dipped into comedy territory with 1998’s Bride of Chucky, which followed up declining revenue for Child’s Play 3. That went into full-blown parody with Seed of Chucky, which divided fans right down the middle and had enough of a weak box office take that it killed the franchise for eight years. Mancini and crew tried to go back to form with Curse of Chucky, initially promising it would be a reboot of sorts but the film ultimately revealed that it was within the same continuity as the rest. The only thing it rebooted was the tone, trying to go back to the more serious take the first three films had.

It would be easy to generalize Cult of Chucky and say it continues the trend that Curse returned to. It would also be a lie. Cult is clearly its own thing, taking elements from all of the films that came before it to create a very enjoyable love letter to the longtime fans of the killer Good Guy doll. It has everything you could want from a Chucky movie: nasty kills, fun one-liners, dark humor and a mean streak. All of these elements have been present from the beginning, but they’re played in such a way that it still doesn’t feel tiresome.

The film picks up four years after Curse, with Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) now believing she killed her entire family and that Chucky isn’t real. Obviously, if that were the case we wouldn’t have a movie. When Nica gets transferred to a medium-security facility, Chucky eventually shows up and this time he’s got some new tricks to settle things once and for all. There’s a lot more to the story than that, but there’s enough twists and references to older movies that it’s best you don’t know about them.

The best way to describe Cult to a fellow horror fan is that it’s fun. I don’t mean that it’s funny, although there are certainly one or two laugh-out-loud jokes from Chucky. It’s just a great sit, especially for a fan of the franchise, from start to finish. There are plenty of nods to what came before and it still, even now in 2017, manages to add some new twists to the series that hadn’t been done before. Just when you think Don Mancini has done everything he can with Chucky, Cult comes along and changes the game. By the time this film is over, the door will be open for more movies if Universal wills it.

As far as the technical elements go, while they are secondary, they are good here. Chucky is back to being a fully animatronic puppet, with none of the CGI attempts that hurt the last film. It feels really good that in 2017 there is still a movie willing to go for practical effects, only using CGI when absolutely necessary. It also looks great, like a film with a higher budget than it likely had. It could have easily made Universal their money back in a theatrical run. The acting could have been bad, especially from people pretending to be crazy, but luckily it fits the movie. Fiona Dourif once again shows her skill, playing a Nica that has changed but is still sympathetic. Alex Vincent does a surprisingly decent job as Andy Barclay, considering he hadn’t played the role in over twenty years. And of course, Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif could play Tiffany and Chucky in their sleep.

Cult of Chucky also manages to take advantage of its asylum setting, allowing the movie to get really crazy. This is especially true in the latter half, but overall crazy’s something that works great with this franchise. It is, after all, about a supernaturally-possessed doll brought to life by a voodoo incantation. It’s never taken itself too seriously and that allows for it to go places other franchises couldn’t go. At this point in Michael Myers’ franchise, it was the same old stuff with a fresh coat of paint. Chucky is reinventing the wheel, at least for his own series, and it’s what keeps fans coming back again and again.

This is by no means a great horror film, as the killer doll was only ever scary for kids, but it is a really fun movie that was made for Chucky fans. Cult is a film with gore, laughs, personality and enough insane moments to have you hoping a sequel comes soon. It has to, right? Chucky always comes back.

Film: 7.5

Universal presents this movie with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, as well as French and Spanish DTS 5.1 tracks. Obviously, it’s a brand new film so it’s going to sound good, but I really enjoyed how detailed the sound was. You could hear things like Chucky’s footsteps with the same clarity as the impressive score.

Audio: 9.0

The film is presented in 1080p with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It looks as good as it sounds, with details present everywhere and a nice blend of color and darkness. No complaints here.

Video: 9.0

Special Features

Audio Commentary with Director/Writer/Executive Producer Dan Mancini and Head Puppeteer/Associate Producer Tony Gardner: Mancini’s commentaries are usually full of life and entertaining listens, as this includes both technical details and stories about putting the film together.

Deleted Scenes: There are three: Nurse Carlos Sells Photos of Nica, Madeleine’s Prescription, and Nurse Carlos Makes Amends. They include optional commentary from Mancini. The Carlos subplot really wasn’t necessary for this, as the pacing is one of its strengths. Mancini was right to cut the clips.

Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky: A short making-of piece on the film, basically a talking heads feature that normally accompanies studio productions. I wish it had been longer.

Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky: While it’s much too short for my liking, this is possibly the best feature on the disc. It goes into detail on the mechanics of the doll, how they operate it, how they program Dourif’s voice into Chucky and more.

The Dollhouse: This touching mini-documentary looks at the lives of Brad Dourif, Tony Gardner and David Kirschner, who are now spending more time with their kids thanks to working on the Chucky movies.

You also get an R-rated cut, but who needs that when the film is unrated? It takes away about a minute’s worth of gore.

There’s some neat stuff on the disc, the only real problem is that it’s too short. It’s a serviceable selection of extras, but nothing you’re going to want to see again.

Special Features: 6.0

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Cult of Chucky is an entertaining and fun horror movie in a series that is surprisingly putting out quality sequels this late in the game. Chucky fans will love it and those new to the franchise won't be too put off by the continuity. Universal's blu-ray release looks and sounds great, although the extras are a tad lacking. Still, this is an easy purchase if you want to keep your Chucky collection going.

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Cult of Chucky, Joseph Lee