Chucky: Twice The Grieving, Double The Loss

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The kids reel after a series of deaths, meanwhile Junior, played by Teo Briones, turns to the dark side.

In many ways this week feels like a build up to the finale, which isn’t necessarily a complaint as there are still a lot of fun moments here. This episode seems to be concerning itself with setting up all the pieces for the final showdown and what a show down it will be.

For the most part this episode is strong, a lot of good moments probably the best of these being Logan’s, played by Devon Sawa, death as it is brutal and memorable and will be one of the defining moments of the series for sure. Moreover, there is another excellent flashback wherein we get to see Fiona Dourif look eerily like her dad and nail the performance once again.

However, this episode is held back from a higher rating by two stupid narrative the decisions. The first being Andy, played by Alex Vincent, deciding to leave his adoptive sister, played by Christine Elise, behind and go on alone. It makes no sense why he would do this; the show wants us to believe he is doing this as a means to protect her yet he brought her back into this world in the previous films so he was fine with endangering her then. It just seems like you would want all hands on deck for the final showdown, no doubt she will conveniently show up. The other being Devon, played by Bjorgvin Arnarson claiming to be done and giving up, only to a few minutes later be back investigating again. This to me just felt pointless and like needless drama to pad out the runtime of the episode.

Overall, good but not great.

Pros.

Logan’s end

Another strong flashback scene

Fiona Dourif

The ending and what it sets up

Cons.

Dumb decisions.  

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Chucky: Cape Queer

4.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The gang realise Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif, is going to be harder to kill then they thought. Meanwhile series main character Andy, played by Alex Vincent, returns to the fray.

I think now that the series has all its pieces together it is really going places, I am excited to see where this series will take us and how that will in turn effect the wider Child’s Play universe. Hopefully we will get one hell of a showdown between Chucky, Tiffany, played by Jennifer Tilly, a possessed Nica, played by Fiona Dourif, and the forces of good in the final few episodes of the series.

I think Fiona Dourif is quickly becoming the star of this series. I forgot in my review of last weeks episode to talk about just how good of a job this series does of having her play the role of Chucky, in human form, in the eighties. They make her look so much like her dad it is a little eerie, the resemblance is uncanny. Moreover, on top of that Dourif also really excels in the role and really nails the mannerism.  I would say she is better used in the flashbacks then in the present day scenes as she is given less to do in those.

Additionally, outside of Nica I also think the series finally seems to have a handle on who these new characters are and what it wants to do with them, as in previous weeks they have verged on annoyance, but here they seem to be well used and contributing.

Overall, the series is getting even better as it progresses.

Pros.

Fiona Dourif

The threat

The coming showdown

Andy is back

The series finally knows what to do with the new characters

Cons.

Fiona Dourif isn’t given much to do in the non-flashback scenes, she deserves more screen time.

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Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight 2: Who Wanted A Mutant Romance Arc

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After the summer camp massacre the Polish police force goes in to investigate only to become terrorised by a new mutant.

There was no need for this sequel. I enjoyed the first film to a point it did not set the world on fire and had a fair number of issues but it had its moments, this on the other hand runs out of steam after about an hour and then you are just left with its rather obvious efforts to kill time.

Continuing on the theme of things no one asked for this film diverts attention away from the big battle of the third act by having a mutant romance and sex scene. Now who thought this was a good idea? To have the cops basically defeated within the second act was a terrible decision, it then left a huge gap that needed to be filled in the film’s run time and this is what they did with it for reasons known only to those that made this film. Not only does this romance arc drag on but it amounts to nothing. Making matters worse it runs out of time before it can give us the showdown between the special forces and the mutants the whole film has been teasing out, instead just showing the special forces capturing them. To say it is anticlimactic is an understatement.

Hopefully this series is dead and there won’t be a third film.

Overall, whoever decided to include the mutant romance single handily derailed this film.

Pros.

The opening is neat

The first act has promise

Cons.

The battle scene is over too quickly and at the wrong part of the film

The terrible romance plot

An underwhelming ending

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Chucky: Little Little Lies

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The kids do battle with Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif, and think that they have killed him how wrong they are.

I enjoyed that this episode brought back not just Tiffany, played by Jennifer Tilly, but also Nica, played by Fiona Dourif. It is nice to see the series tying into the wider Child’s Play universe hopefully we will also get the return of other characters from previous films as well.

I thought Fiona Dourif did a terrific job of playing a possessed Nica, she was both chilling and also endearing when she momentarily broke free. I am interested to see where the series is going to take her and see how she will become a bigger part of the narrative- I have high hopes.

I thought that this felt like a very middle of the road sort of episode, it was nice to see the kids get there moment of victory even if we all knew that it was never going to last as there is always another doll body for Chucky. However, it was nicer still when all hell broke loose during the assembly and everyone learnt things were far from over.

Overall, a strong episode with a lot to love for fans of the franchise, maybe a little slow in parts but great for the most part.

Pros.

Brining back Nica and Tiffany

Fiona Dourif

The wider Child’s Play universe

The ending

Cons.

A little slow in parts, the parent’s storylines are just not interesting

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Chucky: Just Let Go

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif, is finally exposed as Jake, played by Zachary Arthur, and his friends finally decide to put a stop to the evil doll.

It is a shame that the series didn’t go down the Chucky’s apprentice route it would have made things more interesting, instead we get the fairly standard all of the characters teaming up to stop the killer, with Jake staying firmly on the light side. However that is not to say this was a bad episode, in fact I actually quite enjoyed seeing Jake and Lexi, played by Alyvia Alyn Lind, team up, I thought it was an interesting way to take their characters and having them both be honest with each other was a masterstroke. I thought the scene in which Jake is saying how he wished her dead because she is a bad person and she is actively scared of him was powerful.

I also enjoyed the continued backstory of Chucky. I like how each episode is giving us more and more of his early years thereby expanding out the Child’s Play world and building on the character.

One thing that I didn’t like was Detective Evan’s, played by Rachelle Casseus, interrogation of Jake. She has no evidence, he is a minor and she tries to force him into confessing, yet we are still supposed to like and root for her character, as she is doing it with good intentions? No, I find her and her moral outrage to be quite infuriating, with her character often just getting in the way of the story.

Overall, a good episode if one that felt a little safe.

Pros.

The team up

The ending

Chucky’s backstory

The needle kill

Cons.

It felt too safe

The integration scene  

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Chucky: I Like To Be Hugged

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif, continues to push Jake, played by Zachary Arthur, down the path of murder.

I thought this episode was one of two halves. On the one hand you have the good half, which is to say everything to do with Chucky, his backstory continued his attempts to kill those in Jake’s life he doesn’t like and of course his attempts to have Jake become his apprentice. All of this is good and with regard to the backstory it helps to flesh out the Child’s Play world nicely,

Whereas on the other hand, you have all of the teen angst stuff. I understand the show wants to dive into teen issues such as bullying, sex and sexuality and that is not necessarily a bad thing, as Sex Education shows us it can be done and done well. However, the issue here is that all of the teen characters are such wet blankets that as soon as they come on screen you find yourself longing to be back with Chucky again. It was a noble aim to tackle these issues but maybe one executed poorly.

Overall, two thirds of this episode are really good sadly the teen stuff is just dragging it down.

Pros.

Chucky’s backstory

Jake’s further descent into become Chucky’s apprentice

The ending

Cons.

 The teen angst stuff is boring

The teen characters are wet blankets

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Cabin In The Woods: The Old Gods Want Blood

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of friends go out to stay in a cabin in the woods, insert Family Guy joke about saying the title of the film, and of course once they get out there things start to go awry.

I am a big fan of this film, minus the pervy Joss Whedon elements but we will get to those, and think that if you are a fan of the slasher genre this is a must watch. There is something so smart and so loving about this film, it both sends up the slasher genre but also revels in its tropey goodness. I think the entire meta reading of this film, as we the audience are the old gods wanting to see our slasher films play out the way they always do is entirely novel and well done.

Likewise the film does a good job of making you care about the characters, with Chris Hemsworth’s character being a delightful revelation. Hemsworth plays the dumb jock but the film goes out of its way to flip that cliché and do something new with it, the same can be said for the rest of the archetypal roles of the slasher. In that regard I thought Kristen Connolly’s Dana made for an excellent final girl and I liked that she failed to prevent the disaster at the end as it made her feel more genuine and real.

Furthermore, as a huge horror fan I got a lot out of the vending machine of monsters scene inside the facility where we were treated to tons and tons of references and homages, it was easily my favourite scene of the film.

Sadly, now we must talk about the issues. A lot of these issues boil down to one thing, camera angles and pervy intent. A lot of the female characters in this film are shot in a way where the camera is often not looking at their faces and is instead looking at other areas, this becomes incredibly transparent as the film goes on. I would like to blame this on Joss Whedon as we know he has a habit of doing this kind of thing from his other work, however Drew Goddard is not above suspicion as well. Regardless it is needless.

Overall, a strong film made stronger if you are a hardcore horror fan.

Pros.

Hemsworth

Connelly

The ending

The vending machine of monsters

Cons.

The perviness

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Halloween: Jamie Lee Curtis’ Birth As A Scream Queen

5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and other residents of Haddonfield are stalked by a mysterious masked killer.

To me, and this might be a controversial opinion, this is easily John Carpenter’s best film. This is a horror film that is firing on all cylinders and gets every little detail right. I think for me the strongest aspect of this film is it’s score, the composing is masterful and the timings are perfect: the non-diegetic sound here really adds a lot to the film and enhances it.

Moreover, this film does a lot with a little in terms of scares. Unlike the newest instalment in this franchise that has been criticised by some as being too violent and bloody, here there is a minimal amount of actual violence but the threat feels even more intense than it does in Halloween Kills. I believe that is because this film put a greater emphasis on the killer stalking and watching his targets then it does on him actually killing them, the thrill is in the chase after all.

Finally, the cast across the board is superb with Jamie Lee Curtis earning her scream queen status with ease here, her performance is incredible particularly the Boogeyman line after the killers escape at the end.

Overall, a magnificent slasher film and one that still holds up as one of the best.

Pros.

The tension

The threat

Jamie Lee Curtis

The score

The ending

Cons.

None   

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Slashers: The Next Evolution Of Game Shows

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

In a dystopian version of Japan people from around the world compete in a game show called Slashers which pits real people against a series of killers in life or death games for big sums of money.

I enjoyed this film a lot. Many times I think whilst watching horror movies that I have seen it all before and that the genre has nothing left that can surprise me and then I watch something like this and am pleasantly surprised to be wrong.

I felt a strong love of slasher films emanating from this film as well as a love for Japanese culture and horror. Connections can be drawn between this and Battle Royale as the two share a fair bit of common ground.

The thing I liked most about this film was its knowing references to cliches and tropes within the genre, with one character, played by Sofia De Medeiros, going so far as to take her top off as to have better odds of surviving. I liked that the film played with genre and tried to do something fresh with it.

I found the characters to be compelling both contestant and slasher alike, I thought each had just enough personality to make them interesting and make you root for them.

My one complaint of the film would be that its message, who is the real monster those doing the slashing or those at home paying to see it, felt a little trite and played out and the film spends a bit too long on the morality of the genre rather than just aiming to have fun with it.

Overall, a wonderful surprise only slightly let down by a been there done that message.

Pros.

A love of the genre

A strong concept

Fun to watch

Interesting characters

Cons.

The message needs freshening up a bit

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Chucky: Death By Misadventure

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Chucky, Brad Dourif, finds another child, played by Zackary Arthur, to befriend, however things are different to how they were with Andy, played by Alex Vincent, all those years ago.

A lot of people are upset with the LGBTQ+ themes on display here and say that it feels more like a show about homophobia and less about Chucky. To them I say, where have you been this entire franchise? Issues around sexuality have always been central to the Child’s Play universe and this feels like a natural progression of that. Moreover, it allows us to reframe Chucky himself, as traditionally he was just evil, but here he is shown to be sticking up for Arthur’s character as he is being victimised at school- adding further nuance to the character.

I think that is why this first episode worked for me so much and why I am eager to see where the series goes next as this is a very different relationship between child and Chucky than we have seen before. Usually Chucky makes it his mission to either possess or kill the central child/ adult in these films however here he seems to be trying to befriend him, maybe even turning him into a possible apprentice?

Another thing I am thankful for with this series is that they got right to it and had the lead find out about Chucky in the first episode rather than have it drag out into the second or the third episode. I feel that by doing this it allows for the series to move at a better pace.

Overall, a very promising start to the series.

Pros.

The relationship between the lead and Chucky

A new side to Chucky

The kills

Tackling important issues head on

Cons.

The new Chucky redesign takes some getting used to

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