This review will unavoidably contain some spoilers for the previous film, Curse of Chucky. Once the credits began to roll on that one—albeit after a big tease mid-credit scene—there were at least three lingering questions: what’ll happen next to Nica, what did Chucky do with young Alice, and what transpired after Chucky was on the receiving end of a shotgun blast from Andy?
Rest assured, Mancini answers all of these in Cult of Chucky while once again building onto the mythos in a way that really ensures the devious Good Guy could potentially live on forever; not that horror icons ever really die. Cult of Chucky continues to abandon the camp factor though it’s less chilling than Curse of Chucky, mainly because Mancini makes some out-there story choices that turn this tale a bit gonzo, but there are also some standard elements at play that feel awfully stock for a series so invested in reinvention.
Four years have gone by since Nica (Fiona Dourif) was admitted to a mental hospital, following the deaths of her family at the tiny hands of Chucky. Or was it actually Nica who committed the murders? That’s what Dr. Foley (Michael Therriault) has convinced Nica of since her arrival. But Chucky is very much real. Well, part of him.
After being blindsided by his former “best friend to the end” Andy (Alex Vincent) with a headshot, Chucky’s disembodied noggin has been kept under torturous lock and key. Andy has been periodically taking Chucky out to “play”, usually some form of horrid torment. He does let Chucky take a hit of his joint so Andy’s not a total sadist. Back at the asylum Nica is visited by Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly) and given word her niece, Alice (Summer Howell), has died. Tiffany gives Nica a “gift from Alice”: a Good Guy doll. This one should be harmless since Chucky’s head is in a vice at Andy’s place… right?
Going into Cult of Chucky I didn’t know a thing and I’m gonna keep it that way for this review. Mancini deserves credit for putting together a story that had me scratching my head, wondering how everything would tie together. And then you learn why and suddenly the series has this new angle that’s freaky, fun, and kind of frightening. It helps that previous films leaned so far into the absurd that the revelations here don’t feel so far outside the realm of possibility. I’d much rather see a series evolve in this way than remain stagnant, doing the “rinse/repeat” cycle of sequels.
The mental hospital itself is a tried and true horror story setting but it also lends itself to a number of clichés. For one thing, everyone here is “crazy” so stories of killer dolls running amuck can be easily dismissed. Although in 2017 wouldn’t there be cameras all over the place? The place is also stacked with stereotypical asylum characters, the caricature crazies that act like the archetypes we’ve seen in this setting before. Now I know this is still a series with a peripheral gaze toward humor, and some of these residents are playing for kinda laughs, but nobody gibed for me and they’re all forgettable.
Fiona Dourif gets to do some really fun acting in the finale. I’ll only say it allows her to flex some chops that clearly run in the family. Jennifer Tilly is always a sultry joy to see as Tiffany. She’s got a couple of scenes here, one of which has shades of her most notorious feature, Bound.
Alex Vincent is great. I love what Mancini has done with Andy. And for once we get a legacy character that isn’t a broken shell of their former self. Andy may have gotten a little twisted in the head from Chucky but he’s an otherwise decently-adjusted guy who has done well for himself. But of course, if given the opportunity he’d choose to give Chucky back some of his own medicine, and he does in spades. Brad Dourif as Chucky is the true draw, as always, and it’s great that since only his voice is required Dourif could conceivably continue the role for as long as he wants; age be damned.
Just like Curse of Chucky this film features a fresh 2023 remaster of the unrated cut, with a 1.78:1 2160p 4K image that is essentially flawless. Cult of Chucky takes place during winter and the picture is often chilly and bleak, with blues and whites as the most prevalent shades. This disc handles all the color balance and image details with ease, delivering a beautiful picture that takes everything good about the previous Blu-ray and makes it better. Audio is once again unchanged, with English DTS-HD MA tracks in both 2.0 and 5.1 surround sound. Joe LoDuca returns to composing duties, once again writing a playfully sinister score that utilizes classic instruments alongside the sound of children’s toys. Subtitles are available in English SDH.
The 4K disc features once again an audio commentary with writer/director Don Mancini and head puppeteer/associate producer Tony Gardner.
That same commentary is also on the Blu-ray disc (unrated cut only) along with:
“Doll in the Family – Tony Gardner on Cult of Chucky” (HD, 7:36), Gardner talks about the evolution of the series and how new ideas inform his work.
“Do the Chucky Stomp – Alex Vincent on Cult of Chucky” (HD, 6:35), the actor talks about returning for a full feature, where Andy is at now, and much more.
“Alex Vincent Recording Studio Promo” (SD, 1:13) is a look at the actor’s personal studio space.
“Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky” (HD, 6:43) is mainly a standard EPK about the making of the film.
“Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky” (HD, 5:03), takes a look at some of the various permutations of the doll.
“The Dollhouse” (HD, 7:37), an interesting piece on how Chucky has integrated himself into the life of Gardner and his family, since this series has been such a large part of his professional work.
Three deleted scenes, with optional commentary by Mancini, are available (HD, 5:26).
A TV spot (HD, 0:19) and two trailers (HD, 2:44) are also included.
DISC ONE: 4K BLU-RAY – UNRATED VERSION
- NEW 4K MASTER OF THE UNRATED VERSION OF THE FILM
- Audio Commentary with writer/director Don Mancini and special effects makeup artist Tony Gardner
- Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
- Optional English subtitles for the main feature
DISC TWO: BLU-RAY – UNRATED AND R-RATED VERSIONS OF THE FILM
- NEW 4K MASTER OF THE UNRATED VERSION OF THE FILM
- NEW Doll in the Familly – Tony Gardner on CULT OF CHUCKY
- NEW Do the Chucky Stomp – Alex Vincent on CULT OF CHUCKY
- NEW A look inside Alex Vincent’s Recording Studio
- Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky
- Good Guy Gone Bad: The incarnations of Chucky
- The Dollhouse
- Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Don Mancini
- TV Spot
- Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, Dolby Atmos – English SDH
Cult of Chucky
If you’ve already watched and enjoyed every film in the series up to this point then there is no doubt Cult of Chucky will satisfy the demand for more. Scream Factory’s 4K release is a winner, both in a/v quality and bonus features.