Nica (Fiona Dourif) has never been able to walk since she was born, and now lives with her mother in a country house after quitting her university course some time before. Now she lives aimlessly, dreaming of getting away but increasingly resigned to seeing her prospects diminish with every year as her mother continues her painting, but one day the doorbell rings and she answers it, finding a postal delivery man standing there. Much to Nica's surprise he actually flirts with her as he hands over a large box, but her mother scares him off, leaving the young woman flattered and surprised, but back to her low mood. Maybe the package will contain something to cheer her up?
Or how about not? Once we see it carried a Good Guy doll anyone who has been a horror fan from 1988 onwards would be well aware that spelled trouble, for this, the twenty-fifth anniversary movie in the Chucky franchise, coming not-so-hot on the heels of the previous instalment which appeared almost ten years before. That film, Seed of Chucky, had taken postmodern weirdness to undreamt of heights, to the extent that many people, even fans, regarded it as a step too far so evidently series creator Don Mancini decided it was time to bring things back to basics with Curse. Unfortunately for him, this was the first entry not to secure a cinematic release.
Apparently Universal, Chucky's parent company, recognised after that previous effort the killer doll was only really welcome in places where the audience would know what to expect, so the movie made festival appearances in theatres but that was it as far as seeing the inside of a picture palace went, and straight to disc it went. However, Chucky was a big enough name and had a substantial enough fanbase even after the big gap between the last one to turn a runaway success on home video, so much so that another sequel was quickly ordered. There were voices of dissent, but if you liked Mancini's work you would appreciate him dialling back the camp and settling for a more straightforward horror yarn.
Much in the way that haunted houses had become the genre plot of choice in the years he'd been away, Chucky now was the malevolent spirit terrorising the occupants of the old dark house where Nica lives, though she might not be living there much longer given her mother seems to commit suicide right before the opening credits. Her greedy sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) shows up to try and sort things out, her husband Ian (Brennan Elliott) and small daughter Alice (Summer H. Howell) in tow, along with a nanny, Jill (Maitland McConnell) and a priest (A Martinez) for moral support. The doll, while we saw it dropped in a bin by the mother, is inexplicably back in the living room by the time Alice notices and decides she would like to play with it, and tells the adults that it is whispering things in her ear, how cute.
Except there's not much cute about a little girl being told by the spirit of serial killer that there is no God, and even less cute about the way he commences picking off the adults one by one in time honoured slasher movie fashion. We're well aware that this was his plan all along, so Mancini may have appeared to be more serious than the last two movies, but he was really trying a different form of humour in that we are waiting in anticipation for the mayhem to begin again and it was amusing to catch Chucky moving out of the corner of the characters' eyes. When the thunderstorm breaks overhead, there was a pleasingly traditional tone to Curse which gave the audience exactly what they would have wanted, assuming they were aficionados of the sort of movie this was sticking closely to the rules of. It was only when it drew into its latter stages, with series regular Brad Dourif making a surprise appearance, that you could tell yes, this was the bastard son of the first three married to the next two, and the jokes were entirely intentional - and welcome. Not bad at all. Music by Joseph LoDuca.