SEED OF CHUCKY
Director: Don Mancini
Year of release: 2004
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 87 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Tagline: "Deliver us some evil" and "Time to raise some Hell".
Also known as: Child's Play 5: Seed of Chucky
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: After coming into the world at the tail end of the last film, things pick up here with the offspring of both Chucky and Tiffany living a mild mannered existence in England. Now somehow grown into a kid sized doll the youngster finds himself working as part of an act for an unpleasant ventriloquist.
Though a gentle soul the doll is plagued by violent nightmares of his origins. As it is he only knows that his new ventriloquist master discovered him in a New Jersey cemetery. After by chance seeing a TV commercial promoting a film based on the legend of the Chucky murders, the doll identifies with the puppet replicas, thinking they could be his long lost family. Escaping the ventriloquist our doll friend manages to fly over to America to the location of where the new movie is being filmed. Some voodoo magic ensues which results in the spirits of Chucky and Tiffany appearing and entering into the bodies of their film prop dolls. Delighted to find they have a child the pair set about the task of finding human vessels for both themselves to transform into as well by surrogacy providing a way for their newfound son to be born as a real kid. They go about this while at the same time trying (and failing) to supress their murderous impulses and set a good example for the impressionable youth.
Note: Though gender fluid in the film I referred to Glen/Glenda as a male above just for simplicity and ease of writing.
Good points: *Building on what began in Bride of Chucky the film is styled very much as a comedy with little elements of horror thrown in. Though this means it isn’t scary at all and maybe a little disappointing because of it I thought the comedy was rather funny in places and despite this not being something I’m overly keen on generally I think it contributed to a mostly entertaining film here. At times I found Chucky’s one liners to be among his best. A couple of scenes in particular which stood out for me as being amusing are Chucky needing to provide a semen sample as part of the surrogacy and Tiffany trying in vain to atone for past mistakes including making an apologetic phone call to the spouse of a previous victim.
*Perhaps deserving of a plus point all by itself in relation to the comedy are the performances of both Jennifer Tully and Redman. Jennifer Tully is the star of the show in many ways and in playing herself as an actress targeted by the dolls there’s a lot of self-deprecating humour. She’s not afraid to send herself up and poke fun at herself which contributes to some of the most amusing scenes. Redman is a solid addition in his own right and makes a fine double act with Jennifer when the two appear together.
*The character of the child doll Glen/Glenda is interesting and provides something fresh for the series. It was a nice touch that they made the character border both genders and I liked how that was represented at the end when Jennifer Tully gives birth. I also liked the split personality of the young doll with him/her appearing sweet and innocent much of the time but with a much darker side sometimes swimming to the surface as well. The twitchy eye was a neat touch also.
Though I thought it could have turned out better, as it was the overall design of the child doll was more than acceptable. Room for improvement for sure but I feel it could have turned out a lot worse and a credible job was done.
*Things are solid enough when taking into account the kills with impressive special effects at times and a fair bit of blood. A burnt corpse, decapitation and an acid related kill were the standout moments for me here.
It’s not all plain sailing though as perhaps too many of the kills are off camera and they have a tendency to have bit of a cartoon look to them which I wasn’t keen on. Overall if having to answer a question on if the kills were good or bad I’d say “good” so I’ll count it as a positive.
Bad Points: *As was always going to be the case when going heavily down the comedy route, this entry even more so than some of the others in the franchise is silly and far fetched in a number of ways. For example the ventriloquist at the beginning knows that Glen/Glenda is alive and can talk but doesn’t seem in the least troubled by it. If not afraid you’d think at the very least he’d want to exploit such an amazing find to much greater effect than he actually did and use it to turn himself into a global superstar but instead he carries on with his small time act.
Other early things that don’t make much sense are how the doll even makes the flight over to America in the first place unaided and then how he/she goes on to make it all the way to the film set. Similarly, later when Chucky and the child doll go after the journalist it doesn’t explain how they were able to find him as I don’t think he was actually in sight in front of them as they were driving their car.
*In a continuation of sorts from the last point with the focus so much on comedy and not horror Chucky looses much of his sinister qualities and becomes more of a clown type figure. This began to some extent in the previous film but it’s much more of a problem here. It can be compared to Freddy’s descent into a comedy figure from the ANOES franchise but it’s probably more pronounced here which has been a turn off for many leaving this film very much as the black sheep of the series. Though he is entertaining it’s a shame to see him loose the more frightening aspects of his character especially taking into account for a lot of people with his size he’s hard to take seriously anyway so he can’t afford to loose his dark side. Thankfully it came back with a vengeance in the follow up film.
*Not a big issue at all but things can get mildly confusing sometimes with Jennifer Tully taking two roles as both herself the actress and also voicing Tiffany. Spoilers: Particularly when putting together the body count as part of this review it wasn’t as clear as I’d like as I wasn’t sure whether to list the Tiffany doll as a death or not seeing that the spirit inside the doll lived on in the human Jennifer’s body. Then it was unclear if I should list Jennifer’s as a death as although her body lived on her soul would have been pushed out or killed by Tiffany. Who cares about my body count so it’s barely even worth mentioning but just a mild annoyance really more than anything.
Verdict: As easily the most disliked entry in the Child’s Play canon this one gets a lot of hate but despite its flaws I still found it largely enjoyable. It is frustrating how it cast off almost all of it’s horror flavour in preference to what’s close to slapstick comedy so I can understand people being disappointed but I never found it to drop below the watchable standard. They at least tried something new with the whole child doll Glenda/Glen gimmick and though the end product is an acquired taste I can appreciate the inventiveness. I would agree that it’s one of the worst films in the series but that’s mainly just because the others are mostly so good not so much that this one is bad. It just doesn’t hit as many of the right buttons as most of the others but still a very decent effort in my opinion.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
Note: I’m not counting the two early deaths which were part of a dream.
1)Film technician: Decapitated with piano wire.
2)Female car driver (Britney Spears or Britney Spears wannabee?): Run off the road causing her car to explode.
3)Journalist: Jar of acid falls onto his head causing much of his face to melt.
4)Redman’s character: Gutted with knife at kitchen table by Tiffany.
5)Joan: Hair set on fire and then tumbles over second floor bannister railing to first floor below.
6)Man found dead in closet: Can’t recall exact wounds but possibly knifed in the head. (death off camera I think)
7)2nd man to fall out of closet: Smothered with plastic bag. (Again death possibly off camera).
8)3rd man to fall out of closet: (Off camera again possibly and I was unsure of how he died).
9)Stan: Impaled in the chest with a thrown knife.
10)Jennifer: I was a bit confused with this death (or at least my notes were confusing) but possibly sliced ion the head with axe and then killed as part of the ritual.
11)Nanny: Beaten to death with doll.
Review added on the 18th of October 2020.