A condition of enjoyment for watching some films is that we’re required to see all the movies in that series. I know I’ve skipped installments in a franchise and found myself no worse for the ignorance in checking out a new movie. Cult of Chucky does require an understanding of the Child’s Play/Chucky movies since Fiona Dourif and Alex Vincent reprise their roles from Curse of Chucky (which brought back the character of Andy Barclay from the 1987 movie). There is a little bit of push-pull in Curse of Chucky that leads us to believe Dourif’s Nica is responsible for a series of murders after receiving the Good Guy doll in the mail. It’s like an extended Twilight Zone episode, but it does return the series to some degree of legitimacy after the campy theatrics of the previous three movies.
Andy has a rough go at it. He lives in a log cabin out in the middle of nowhere. He can’t get through a blind date without being questioned about his unending fountain of bad luck – all because of a doll. He keeps Chucky’s severed head in a safe and then brings it out for occasions of torture involving a blow torch. Nica is remanded to a medium-security sanitarium surrounded by legitimately unstable people. That damned Good Guy doll is used in therapy sessions, and I honestly don’t know why. Considering the 37 or so people who met their end because of that doll, this is considered the best course of treatment? For reasons that are not explained, Chucky comes to life again. He comes to the conclusion he’s surrounded by lunatics, which is an interesting twist. After saving Nica’s life during a suicide attempt, he murders a schizophrenic woman who thinks she’s a ghost. I’m not a fan of dolls. I’m not even talking about a reaction to Chucky. I don’t like dolls. They creep me out with their glassy eyes and happy, smiling faces. As a doll, there’s something wrong about Chucky; his red hair, freckles, and apple cheeks, his overalls and rainbow shirt. He’s wrong.
Chucky’s modus operandi as a killer is to throw shade on others for his actions, and in a mental institution, that’s a very easy job. There are some interesting visual bits in here. The use of split-screen and slow-motion sequences recalls De Palma. The “Cult” in the title suggests it isn’t just one Chucky doll with murderous tendencies but the entire line! I’m shaking my head and thinking, that’s no good. I’m also wondering about the ridiculously amoral Dr. Foley, the head of the sanitarium who engages in hypnotherapy sessions with Nica while taking advantage of her. Even Chucky is at a loss for words. This was a decent horror movie (with a sense of humor) made on a low budget and released direct-to-video. Fiona Dourif is a fantastic actress. Her face and range of expressions remind me of her father, Brad. The franchise was rebooted two years later with Aubrey Plaza and Mark Hamill as the new voice of Chucky.
Cult of Chucky can be seen on Netflix.