Cult of Chucky (2017)

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.

Fiona Dourif reprises her role as wheelchair bound Nica, now subjected to being a patient in an asylum for the emotionally disturbed who has been convinced Chucky was a manifestation of her psychoses. When she learns one of the patients has a Good Guy doll that she treats as a baby, patients begin turning up dead. Desperate to prove Chucky is lurking about, she’s stop him. Director and Writer Mancini mistakes laziness for meta-humor much too often, and never quite fulfills the potential of “Cult.” To make matters worse, he also throws in a lot of twists that cancel out the previous film, and tacks Jennifer Tilly’s Tiffany back in to the fold.

Why? I can only imagine Mancini has plans for her involvement with the new direction the series takes in the end. At least I hope so. That, or maybe he brought her back to deliver one of the dumbed self-aware running gags in a film since the whole Julia Roberts nonsense in “Ocean’s Twelve.” Seriously, it’s bad enough the joke isn’t funny once, but the fact Mancini repeatedly forces the gag on audiences becomes distracting. That said, there are some good ideas presented here, and while I outright disliked what Mancini does with Chucky’s supernatural abilities, I appreciate he’s at least breaking the monotony this time around.

There are also a slew of very good performances with the Dourif family carrying the movie big time. Brad Dourif always seems to be having a great time as Chucky, with the excellent animatronics lending a new dimension to his character, all the while Fiona Dourif is stellar as Nica, the final girl from the previous film doing battle with Chucky, while uncovering more sinister personality traits about herself. Alex Vincent is also great as Andy, who plays Chucky’s version of Loomis, struggling to figure out what Chucky has up his sleeve next. I appreciate what Mancini is going for with “Cult of Chucky,” and while it isn’t as abysmal as “Seed of Chucky,” it’s nevertheless an inferior follow up to “Curse” which set up so much promise.