Bride of Chucky (1998)

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.

At one point character Tiffany is watching “Bride of Frankenstein.” Chucky lived a full life before inhabiting the doll, and we learn in this reboot that Chucky had a long suffering wife named Tiffany who was obsessed with him. After claiming his remains, Tiffany puts him back together and revives his soul using a crude magical spell. Chucky returns and the writers actually take time to explore Chucky and Tiffany’s relationship, which involves a lot of sadism, abuse, and an uneasy romance similar to Harley Quinn and Joker. After a fight, Chucky murders Tiffany and transfers her soul to a female doll for the hell of it. Tiffany soon takes a liking to her new form, but the pair desire new younger hosts.

Using a neighbor from her trailer park, Jessie, she tricks him in to traveling with the pair of dolls across the country to take them to New Jersey. There, they plan to unearth Chucky’s body and get the amulet of Demballa, which will help them find new bodies and achieve the spell. Sadly, though, they’re caught up in a rather annoying plot involving Jessie and his romance with an upper class girl named Jade (Katherine Heigl). The two are in love, but her evil uncle and corrupt sheriff (John Ritter) is hell bent on keeping them apart. Circumstances become comical when Chucky and Tiffany begin knocking off their enemies, and both lovers begin to suspect the other is a vicious murderer. Oh, the hilarity! The writers know this movie is ridiculous and never hold back in reminding us and hoping we go along for the ride.

Your level of enjoyment depends on if you’re willing to absorb the idiocy, or reject it outright. I was somewhere in the middle. The kills are far fetched, there are nods to a ton of horror movies including Hellraiser, and yes, there’s even a sex scene between Chucky and his gal pal Tiffany. “Bride of Chucky” is basically Chucky and Tiffany’s show, as the human characters are all fairly bland and forgettable, including the protagonists. While the situation they’re in has potential to be hysterical, the delivery is limp, leaving Tiffany and Chucky to carry the movie, most of the time. “Bride of Chucky” goes just about everywhere you’d expect it to, and it never apologizes for it. It even gives us the tease to a new generation of Chucky, for better and for worse. Ronny Yu’s pseudo-reboot is a gimmicky, mediocre, and fairly forgettable approach to a movie series in the pits and in need of some new creative minds.