They have… yada yada yada yada…
… he’s back.
Seed of Chucky continues what was teased at the end of Bride of Chucky: an almost dead Tiffany doll gave birth to Chucky’s son. The fifth installment in the Child’s Play series amps up the comedy and completely abandons its horror roots while it similarly to Scream 3 turns into a Hollywood satire – and thus the series is as far away from its original movie as possible.
Shadows of the past
After a 90s CGI-credit sequence (I wonder how expensive that might have been back then) the movie starts with a pretty interesting sequence where we see a girl getting an ugly doll as an anonymous birthday present. The visual twist on this sequence is that we are looking at the scene from the puppets point of view. So when the nightly murder spree starts we see everything through the eyes of the killer who – it turns out very quickly – is not Chucky but a new doll. This approach is actually quite interesting as it slowly teases us with the answer to the question from Bride of Chucky: how does Chucky’s Baby look like?
After the murder is done we realize – after a pissing joke – that this was all the dream of Chucky’s offspring (voiced by Billy Boyd from The Lord of the Rings). And similar to the franchise the scary murder-spree is just a dark dream from the past. In truth Chucky’s baby is a pacifist who thinks his parents were Zen-masters (because of his made in Japan stamp) but soon he is about to find out the truth about the Chucky legacy.
Chucky goes Psycho
Similar to the opening nightmare we then see a scene set during Christmas where Chucky and Tiffany appear to be alive and kicking – but it quickly turns out that we are actually on a movie set.
Yes, Seed of Chucky is set in Hollywood and the actual Chucky and Tiffany dolls are now used for the slasher movie Chucky goes Psycho – apparently evidence can now be used for a movie prop but to be fair, it makes a lot more sense than the opening of Child’s Play 3.
The entire Hollywood story is a way of bringing back actress Jennifer Tilly who played the human Tiffany in Bride of Chucky and voices the Tiffany doll. So Jennifer Tilly in this movie has been cast as both Tiffany in doll body and as Jennifer Tilly playing Tiffany the doll for the movie Chucky goes Psycho – starting to get an idea of how meta this movie is?
As Chucky’s offspring arrives he uses the amulett from Bride of Chucky to reawaken his dead (sleeping?) parents. And now Chucky is faced with a task unlike all the others he had to face: to be a responsible parent… and hilarity ensues.
Why are you killing?
When Chucky’s Baby was introduced during the final act of the previous movie he looked very vicious and attacked the police officer who witnessed the birth. But in order to mix up the formula writer Don Mancini (who also directed this movie) went for a different route by introducing two things:
- Chucky’s heir is a pacifist who refuses to kill.
- The gender of the child is uncertain kicking off a conflict if it’s a boy (Glen according to Chucky) or a girl (Glenda according to Tiffany).
And because the comedy element has now become the primary story motivator Chucky and Tiffany swear to stop killing for the sake of their innocent child. The scenes with Tiffany going after the 12 step program to overcome her “killing addiction” paired with Chucky trying to instill some murderous spirit into his presumed son are the stronger part of the film as their humor is very reminiscent of Bride of Chucky.
The problem lies somewhere else…
The virgin Mary and the content Chucky
The Hollywood setting is crucially different to the Jesse and Jade subplot which made the fourth Child’s Play movie work so well. The story of a killer doll couple falling in love is so delightfully absurd that the rest of the movie needs some grounding to retain a sense of drama. But because we are now full on meta we have rapper Redman getting seduced by Jennifer Tilly so that she can star in his upcoming bible epic.
Mancini’s original intention was to get Quentin Tarantino for the role but he never spoke to the infamous director and only got a decline by Tarantino’s agent. One is left to wonder if a Tarantino presence would have added the gravitas that Redman is lacking. Never for a second is it possible to believe the storyline, let alone the characters. All this is paired with a paparazzi (played by John Waters) and a convenient voodoo pregnancy too contrived to go into the details.
Near the end of the movie a major conflict is that Chucky is actually quite happy with the way things are which pretty much sums up the central problem of the film – Tilly and Redman pose even less of a threat than Jesse and Jade, so the stakes are just not there and therefore the anti-hero-villain has to sabotage himself in order to create sufficient conflict.
Seed of Chucky has been dubbed by many as the worst Chucky movie of the entire series. This is something I stronly object. I’ll take Seed of Chucky over Child’s Play 3 any day because the movie at least tried some different things. When Seed fails it fails harder than the third entry (a certain “oops, I did it again…” comes to mind).The change to a pacifist/transgender son also falls into this category. It doesn’t quite work but it is an admirable effort to say something about the difficulties of identity and expectations that children have to face. And I will take “trying to say something” over “not saying anything” any day.
Chucky and Tiffany still have a great chemistry, the animatronics are at their peak and the way all three dolls move and talk is simply stunning (minus a Kung Fu sequence which just looks ridiculous but not in a good way).
Since Curse of Chucky will return to the single Chucky doll I won’t miss Glen/Glenda but I still hope for Tiffany’s eventual return.