• Cult Of Chucky



    Released by: Universal Studios
    Released on: October 3rd, 2017.
    Director: Don Mancini
    Cast: Fiona Dourif, Michael Therriault, Adam Hurtig, Alex Vincent, Elisabeth Rosen, Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly
    Year: 2017
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    The Movie:

    Picking up more or less where Curse Of Chucky left off, 2017’s Cult Of Chucky takes place in an asylum where Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif), convicted of killing five members of her own family, has recently been transferred after a few years in another facility. Nica’s treatment seems to have gone well enough - Dr. Foley (Michael Therriault) has her convinced that there was no killer doll and that was responsible for her own actions. Here she meets a few other patients – a young man with multiple personality disorder nicknamed ‘Multiple Michael’ (Adam Hurtig), a formerly homeless woman who believes she’s a ghost named Angela (Marina Stephenson Kerr) and a woman named Madeleine (Elisabeth Rosen) who has been locked away for killing her own child.

    Of course, we know that’s not the case and when he brings in a Good Guy doll to serve as a therapy tool, it isn’t long before strange things start happening and some of Nica’s fellow inmates wind up dead. Once Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly) shows up to tell Nica what happened to her niece, it gets even weirder – especially after she drops off a second doll. Meanwhile, Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), well aware of the truth behind these killer doll murders, does what he can to try and get this all sorted out. But by the time there’s a third doll introduced into the mix, it may already be too late.

    You’ve got to give Don Mancini for getting ridiculously creative with some of these later Child’s Play films. Rather than rely on the easy, formulaic stalk and slash options that he could have gone with he’s instead been expanding the universe in which these stories play out some decidedly bizarre ways. This latest film is a fine example, tying in elements from Bride of Chucky and Curse Of Chucky nicely to expand on the continuity while still managing to provide the requisite laughs and monster movie mayhem that has made the series a fan favorite. Bringing three dolls into the story is an interesting twist and setting the whole thing in an insane asylum works well too. Of course, we don’t really ever question Nica’s sanity because we already know Chucky is ‘real’ on the context of the film, but it does at least allow us to understand why the other characters in the movie would think she might be the one behind the killings.

    Bringing both Nica and Andy back to the series was a nice touch. Alex Vincent’s role is more of a supporting part but it’s fun to see him here once again reprising the role that he’s known for. A prologue involving him and a date in which she tells him she can’t go out with him due to his dark past is humorous but it’s once we find out what he’s really been up to lately that his character starts to matter. Supporting work from Jennifer Tilly in full on femme fatale mode is welcome while Michael Therriault is quite good as the skeezy doctor in charge of Nica’s treatment. Adam Hurtig, Marina Stephenson Kerr and Elisabeth Rosen as Nica’s fellow inmates are also fun here. Really though, the vast majority of the heavy lifting is done by Fiona Dourif. Of course, her father Brad’s voice work as Chucky in the film is as perfect as ever but Fiona’s performance here is rock solid.

    This release from Universal contains both the R-rated and unrated versions of the movie. There’s some pretty strong gore in this one, stronger than most of the other films in the series, and it’s quite well done using mostly practical effects. The animatronic and puppet effects used to bring Chucky to life are also really solid, while the camerawork does a fine job of making the hospital where so much of this takes place appear appropriately sterile and eerie. And of course, the film’s sense of humor is just as twisted as you could hope for – you aren’t meant to take any of this all that seriously.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Cult Of Chucky looks good on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition widescreen framed at 1.78.1. Detail is nice throughout the presentation and frequently quite impressive. As most of the movie takes place inside a very sterile looking mental hospital this isn’t the most colorful looking movie you’ll ever see but shadow detail is pretty solid as are black levels. The reds and blues of Chucky’s outfit look nice and skin tones always look nice and natural. There are no obvious compression artifacts or noise reduction issues nor is there any serious edge enhancement. As the movie was shot on digital video there aren’t any problems with print damage or debris either. All in all this is a nice, crisp, clean and detailed presentation, one which fans should appreciate.

    The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is pretty solid. It doesn’t use the rear channels quite as often as you might hope for but there’s definitely a lot of fun surround activity here and some appreciable depth to the mix as well. Dialogue is always perfectly easy to understand and as you’d expect from a new movie like this there are no issues with hiss or distortion at all. The score has some good range and power behind it and the sound effects are mixed in nicely and help punctuate a few of the more active set pieces. A Spanish language DTS 5.1 Surround Sound mix is also available as is a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix in French with optional subtitles offered up in English SDH, French and Spanish.

    Extras on this release start off with a feature length audio commentary with Don Mancini and Tony Gardner in which they detail the ins and outs of the production. These guys have worked together for a long time and clearly have a lot of affection for what they do, which carries over into the commentary well. Lots of talk here about bringing Nica and Alex back, what the different actors brought to their roles, creating the hospital sets, shooting in Manitoba, the effects work featured in the picture and lots more.

    From there we get three featurettes starting with a seven minute piece called Inside The Insanity Of Cult Of Chucky that features Craig Sandells, and actors Fiona Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Alex Vincent, and Michael Therriault as well as Mancini and Gardner. This is a fairly basic behind the scenes piece that shows off what it was like on set and includes some talking head style clips from the participants about their experiences making the movie. Up next is Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations Of Chucky, a five minute piece that shows us how the titular character has changed over the years before then showing off some genuinely cool behind the scenes footage showing how animatronics and puppeteering brings him to life in the feature. The third and final featurette is The Dollhouse, an eight minute piece that focuses on the relationships that exist behind the scenes of the franchise. Lots of insight here from cast members Brad and Fiona Dourif as well as puppeteers Tony and Kyra Gardner and, of course, Mancini and producer David Kirschner.

    Also on hand are three deleted scenes running just over five minutes in length. You can watch these with or without commentary from Mancini that give them some context and explain why they were excised. Trailers for a few unrelated Universal properties play before the main menu loads but there’s no feature here for Cult Of Chucky itself. As this is a combo pack release we also get a DVD version of the movie included alongside the Blu-ray disc as well as an insert card with a code on it redeemable for a digital copy of the movie. Menus and chapter selection are also provided on both discs and Universal has packaged this release with a genuinely cool lenticular slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    Cult Of Chucky is a lot of fun, a deliriously insane return to the Child’s Play universe with some fine performances, strong direction and some genuinely impressive murder set pieces. The Blu-ray release from Universal is rock solid, presenting the movie in great shape, with a pretty killer lossless surround mix and a decent array of extra features.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!