Oh Brad Dourif, we’ve missed you. I say this as no disrespect for the reboot film which I actually enjoyed greatly. Hopefully that lends context to this review as fans of the original Good Boy Doll are no doubt rejoicing. Chucky is the sort of television show that throws almost every possible indulgence at the wall to see if it will stick, and I mean this in the best sort of way. It’s a complement that so many fun pieces are woven together so well, and despite becoming a bit unwieldy in places, the show is unashamed, laugh-out-loud, fun.
Middle-schooler Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) is struggling to survive after the death of his mother when he finds a Good Boy Doll at the neighborhood yard sale. It’s the sort of typical setup and you think you know where everything is going as Chucky starts talking, walking, and…other more violent things. Jake has enough problems as it is with a bigot father (Devon Sawa) and being ridiculed at school by his cousin Junior (Teo Briones) and his crueler girlfriend Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind).
No doubt some will take issue with the main characters being modern-day kids. I’ve already seen complaint after complaint of how their dialogue is “cringeworthy”. Have these people met teenagers? Actually, scratch that, have they met adults? These kids are resourceful and well served by the script that takes technology into account. Jake’s crush Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson) has a podcast talking about the towns history of murder, and we, as an audience are filled in with a series of flashbacks that increases as the series goes. The kids and the parents all have issues and creator Don Mancini recognizes what often makes a good slasher; knowing that anyone could be next.
Obviously we should talk about Chucky and the series is made by all the work that goes into him with some puppetry, the voice work, and the cheeky lines. If you’re simply coming for the carnage alone, you’ll get it with a heavy dose of nostalgia as all of the old movies are acknowledged, many prominent characters from the past returning for more than simple cameos. Logic has to be put aside at times as the kids try to prove Chucky is alive and wreaking havoc (Do none of these nicer homes, hospitals, or schools have security cameras?) Never mind. I’m sure there’s deleted ideas of Chucky taking care of everything and I don’t think it’s necessary in a show that already embraces the silliness of its premise. What isn’t silly is how Chucky masterfully manipulates Jake and other characters that are vulnerable, highlighting the problems of bullying, homophobia, and parents living through their children.
Being so packed to the brim, you could make the argument that the show is overflowing with content. Those not yet familiar with Chucky could get lost as the series introduces one plotline after another and a fun albeit slightly repetitive look into Chucky’s life before he was a doll. It’s an argument that some will bring up, but I think anyone that sticks with this series will understand and thoroughly enjoy it. There are fourth wall breaks, characters using horror movie references like characters from Scream, and the chances for characters to turn over a new leaf. I say chances. Chucky isn’t going to let them all get them which makes it even more shocking when we see the body count. It’s high. But since a second season is confirmed, I’m sure they can go higher.
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