I guess now that Don Mancini is taking the wheel back for the “Child’s Play” series, he can basically do whatever he wants with it. It’s just too bad that he follows up the great “Curse of Chucky” with an utterly inferior sequel that dodges any potential at bringing the premise of Chucky to a new level. “Cult of Chucky” looks shockingly cheaper than the previous film with a lot of green screen and obviously computer animated scenes, all with a back drop of a pretty clumsy riff on “Dream Warriors.” Mancini literally breaks all of the pre-established continuity (who knew ghosts could age?) and mythology in order to bend the premise to his will, failing to provide much of an explanation that’s worth buying in to.
By 1998, the “Child’s Play” movie series reached the point of no return. The third film in the series was a stale slasher, and Wes Craven re-invented the horror movie, while accidentally spawning a slew of self-aware slashers and horror movies. Hence, “Bride of Chucky” came along and took it to a whole new level. The idea of a female version of Chucky is a great one, and one that could have spawned a wonderful and thrilling movie with a change up in the sexual dynamic and how Chucky approaches his murderous habits, but Ronny Yu’s reboot/sequel instead dives head first in to material that’s a spoof, a satire, a sequel, a meta-horror movie, a horror comedy, and sometimes just a flat out slapstick comedy that comes dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall.
You can tell the studios basically ran out of ideas with this third installment of the “Chucky” series, so they pretty much just ripped off “Friday the 13th” part five this time around. This series was begging to be rebooted by the time we reached this new installment, as “Child’s Play 3” is filled with such a bland set piece, and pretty weak character motivations overall. For no real explanation there’s a very young boy in a military academy filled with people in their twenties, and Chucky seems to be running thin on reasons to kill. In the past he killed people that complicated his larger goals, now he kills because people decide to annoy him. Even for a psychopath that gets kind of boring.
In “Child’s Play 2,” director Jon Lafia opts for a more vicious follow up where Chucky goes on a veritable rampage. What made “Child’s Play” so unique is we were never quite sure if Chucky was murdering people, if Andy was, or if Chucky was influencing Andy to become a serial killer. Only on the second act do we get a complete verification of the mystery. In “Child’s Play 2” Chucky is on a campaign of murder and violence where he not only proceeds to ruin Andy’s life, but everyone else’s life in the process. It’s a somewhat polarizing sequel, but something that definitely opts for different this time out.
A prequel to the prequel to The Conjuring films, the story here is that of how the evil doll Annabelle came to be. Years following a tragic accident, a doll maker and his wife take in a group of orphans needing a new place to live with the nun who watches over them. As they are forbidden to go in a specific room, the young girls get curious and something is awakened.
I would only suggest “The Boy” to folks that are quite fond of Lauren Cohan and want to see her dip her toes in to the horror genre yet again. It’s honestly the only reason why I bothered with “The Boy.” While director William Brent Bells‘s film has a neat concept, the premise quickly runs out of steam and the writers almost seem to scramble for a way to stay ahead of the audience and come up with a neat twist they simply weren’t expecting. Seriously, I would have preferred they gone down the road I was hoping they would, rather than drop this completely goofy plot twist in the climax that simply made no sense whatsoever.
Holy hell, if the Syfy Channel in America is trying to capitalize off of Annabelle from “The Conjuring,” they’re going about it all wrong. It’s hard to rationalize a movie so horribly inept and put together. Through no fault of my own I even fell asleep after the thirty minute mark from sheer boredom, and after awakening I couldn’t quite bring to rewind the film and begin again. “Finder’s Keepers” doesn’t require a lot of thought or explanation. It’s really just a hodgepodge of ideas that amount to absolutely zero. There’s no pay off, no reason to care for the characters, and the writing is painful.
You get the sense the writers really went in with nothing, when they build up a cast of characters, and the only two minorities end up being more interesting than our main characters. The film is mostly centered on Jaime Pressly and Patrick Muldoon’s divorced couple, and their efforts to save their daughter. Yet the entire time I wondered what the pair of Latin women investigating the paranormal, with insight in to the supernatural, was up to. In typical horror movie fashion, they die horribly, even though the main characters are the ones committing truly stupid acts.
Which is shameful since Justina Machado is insanely sexy and always a treat to watch on screen; I’ve always found Jaime Pressly attractive, but Machado actually makes her look plain by comparison. That digression aside, “Finder’s Keepers” is filled with idiotic plot twists, and utterly horrible dialogue. If that’s not enough the characters spend so much of their time bickering that they don’t notice their daughter is being possessed by an ugly doll she finds under a floor. When their friends begin turning up dead (including a utterly wasted Tobin Bell), they begin to figure out that their daughter is being overtaken by the doll she found.
The writers try to elude that the past owner has broken out of his asylum and is doing the murders, but oddly enough that’s dropped in favor of the adorable Kylie Rogers mugging for the camera. The red herrings fly fast and loose, and a lot of plot elements are injected just for the sake of compensating for the clear lack of frights. The writers can’t even decide what the doll is, offering explanations that maybe it’s a worry doll, or a voodoo doll, or an evil spirit, or the embodied spirit of its owner, or a demonic presence consuming the daughter. It’s basically whatever works toward finishing the film the quickest, and for that I thank them.
Well, if the writers don’t give a shit anymore, why should we? “Gingerdead Man” has seemingly given up trying after the first film, so I’ve given up trying to make sense of anything that’s happening in this movie series. When last we saw Gingerdead Man he was trolling a movie studio killing actors and directors for some reason. Now he’s being held in a prison with other psychotic baked goods. Spoofing “Silence of the Lambs,” he meets with female detective who wants his help in a case. It’s an obvious satire sans the laughs, but we now know there are other psychotic baked goods out there.