The seventh installment of a movie franchise about a homicidal maniac trapped inside of a doll who has a penchant for one-liners has finally achieved something that we all though it had done six movies ago. That’s right, Cult of Chucky finally did it. It jumped the shark. If you thought the series was silly, if you thought the premise was thin, if you thought there was nothing that could make this character more ridiculous, well you were really wrong.
This most recent installment of a silly series has slipped into such chaotic silliness that the film is barely even a film this time around. This time the movie is more of a tour of past films, with bits of homicide and the associated jokes thrown in, than an actual narrative story.
And really, that’s fine. It’s fine that the filmmakers have really embraced the campiness of it all. It’s fine that they seem to have approached this all with a grin and a shrug.
What’s not fine, though, is the film is not a film within itself. It doesn’t follow the classic storytelling element of setups and payoffs, character arcs, conflict, or resolution. At best, this film plays like an extended pilot for a television series. When the climax of your film sidesteps any attempt at narrative resolution and barrels headfirst into a cliffhanger of a new paradigm shift an audience member can’t help but feel a little robbed.
A film, wether part of a series or not, should be self-contained. It should put forth a story. It should not play like an extended Act 1 of a marketed trilogy. Consider other films in this franchise category, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, etc. These films play within the large scope of an overarching story and/or characters but each single film also plays as a story within itself. Back to the Future works with or without Back to the Future Two or Three. Cult of Chucky leans on a film that isn’t made yet. The ending is so lackluster in the sense of any closure it feels more like a commercial break should begin instead of the end credits.
If that weren’t enough, the film itself seems to have no direction up to this point. It meanders to the point of apathy. No character stands out, no character seems that interested in the overarching plot. It is reactionary and shallow. It is Chucky being Chucky for the sake of Chucky being Chucky. It’s as if the plot was pitched as “How much Chucky could Chucky chuck if Chucky could chuck Chucky” and it was greenlit on that alone.
It could be said the Cult of Chucky is a bad movie, but it is not even clear if this could qualify as a movie.
Also, the therapist at this institution is really bad at his job.