(2004) dir. Don Mancini
Don’t ask me why, but I actually caught the first Child’s Play (1988) in the theater on its initial release. One of the late 1980’s final twists on the slasher genre, it has amazed me that it has managed a life beyond its origins, quite frankly. I did enjoy some of the twisted aspects of the original, the fact that a child is blamed for heinous murders by a possessed doll (he keeps telling them “it’s the doll, it’s the doll” and they lock him right up), as strangely perverse and funny. I liked the ending when Chucky, locked in a fireplace, begs with his catch phrase, “I thought we would be friends til the end…” to the little boy with the lit matches who replies as he sets Chucky on fire, “This is the end friend.” Again, with the positioning of the child as killer, doler of justice. It was funny.
I haven’t seen it since, nor did I keep up with the two subsequent sequels, the kind that killed all of the horror franchises of the 1980’s…cheaply made and each less interesting and less inventive than the last.
I did find myself attracted and amused by the return of the murderous doll, in the campy, comedic 1998 Bride of Chucky. It wasn’t brilliantly funny, but it certainly tried to teach an old doll new tricks, to coin a phrase.
This time around I should have been more dubious that the schtick could be carried on another generation. It’s common that a film with enough of a following will garner a sequel and it’s even more common that the sequel, no matter how mediocre its predecessor, will be less interesting. And thus is the case with Seed of Chucky.
It’s not entirely unfunny, though much of it is. The self-reflexive Hollywood in-jokes are more than tired; they are exhausted. Not that any of the films have been scary, but it doesn’t really have that going for it either. It’s rather crass, with the doll masturbation sequence. Most of its humor is based in irony regarding cliches of family life. I guess that the ending is the only sort of interesting twist. Jennifer Tilly actually carries the film largely, playing herself as a vaguely overweight, out-of-the-limelight movie star. She pretty much saves the movie.
I doubt that I am saving anybody the trouble of seeing this, since most people wouldn’t bother anyways.