I get why horror fans don’t like Bride of Chucky. It’s more of a melodramatic comedy with horror elements than a true, traditional horror film. I can see how that might be divisive. However, I loved this movie. Yes, it’s over the top. And yes, the plot makes no sense. But man, is it fun. Everything about Bride of Frankenstein is deeply enjoyable—from the self-referential humor, to the almost soap opera-esque plot, to the over-the-top kills. This movie just oozes creativity, and it’s exactly the breath of fresh air the Chucky franchise needed.
Honestly, I think Jennifer Tilly is the secret sauce here. Tiffany Valentine, Chucky’s (Brad Dourif) previously unseen girlfriend, gives the film a kind of energy none of the others had. Tiffany is a true foil for Chucky. They are companions and mortal enemies, and their dynamic is so entertaining. I loved watching Tiffany realize her idealized version of Chucky doesn’t exist as she meets the monster we’ve become acquainted with throughout the previous films. Seeing her shed her naivety and get just as dirty as Chucky is reason enough to watch the movie. Tilly and Dourif bounce off of each other brilliantly, constantly feeling like an old married couple. And it’s a delight.
Yeah, the plot of the movie’s not great. Parts of it continue to retread old ground—Chucky gets resurrected, looks for a new body to transfer his soul into, etc. But at least this time, there are enough added twists preventing the film from falling into the trap Child’s Play 3 fell into, and feeling sort of listless. Other parts revolve around characters we don’t know well and don’t care about. Sure, it’s fun to see Jesse (Nick Stabile) and Jade’s (Katherine Heigl) relationship mirror Chucky and Tiffany’s as they get blamed for the latter’s crimes. But the two aren’t that interesting, regardless of how good Stabile and Heigl are. But the movie realizes all of this and smartly puts Chucky and Tiffany center stage, immediately subverting our expectations of a Chucky film. Gone are the days where Andy and a new group of children are the focus of the story. Here, Chucky and Tiffany are the stars. And that’s why the movie feels fresh even as it retreads familiar ground. It’s not just the same thing happening again. Now, Chucky has a true partner in crime. And I couldn’t be happier.
With the extra screen time for Chucky and Tiffany comes more kills. And the kills in Bride of Chucky are as over-the-top and fun as you’d hope. They start fairly tame but get bigger and grosser as the film goes on and Chucky and Tiffany egg each other on. There’s some creative stuff here—like one character being killed by a bunch of nails to the face and another two by shattered mirror shards falling onto their water bed. I continue to respect the visual effects here. There’s a mixture of practical effects and CGI for the kills, but the Chucky and Tiffany dolls continue to be puppets, and I’m so happy about it. There’s something so creepy about the way these puppets move, and it’s something that could never be replicated by CGI. The puppets are the star of the show, and I’m glad we got to see a lot of them (and a lot of violence inflicted by them). If you’re looking for some over-the-top horror deaths, this is your film.
Ultimately, Bride of Chucky may not be an amazing film. But it’s a devilishly fun one, and that’s exactly what I want from this franchise. It moves quickly, the kills are creative, and Chucky and Tiffany make pretty compelling leads. I can see a world where this self-referential tone could grow tiring quickly. But for now, I’m deeply enjoying it.
4 out of 5 wands.