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Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
I wouldn’t consider myself a big Chucky fan. I like 1988’s Child’s Play just fine, but I cannot stand the abysmal Seed of Chucky. To me, this franchise is pretty hit and miss. I think Bride of Chucky, this 1998 installment in the demonic doll film series rests comfortably in the middle of the best and the worst. This film isn’t great, but it’s also not nearly as bad as its sequel. There are things to enjoy here, and luckily a talented cast is attached to help anchor things. Still, this is by no means something you absolutely must see if you haven’t already.
I have to touch on Jennifer Tilly first, because wow does she give her all to this twisted role. She does a great job playing Chucky’s lover, Tiffany, who is just as insane as he is. Tilly was meant to play a role like this — she has a slick, understated attitude and demeanor that she brings to this that really works and makes her character enticing. Tilly’s voice is another asset of hers that is used quite well here. Her voice just perfectly matches the character. The hair/makeup and costume department gave her character a boost, as well. She dons a slick, gothic look complete with leather and black high heels. Tilly is this film’s strongest asset.
The opening sequence is my second favorite thing Bride of Chucky offers up — it’s gleefully campy and really opens with a bang. Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl” plays during the opening, and I don’t think they could have picked a more fitting song. Sure, it’s pretty on the nose, but it works for the type of film this is. The lighting and cinematography they chose for it are also very fitting. The opening scene itself is ten times better than the actual film.
The rest of the cast can’t quite match Tilly, but they still do a decent job. Katherine Heigl plays one of the leads here in one of her first projects. She doesn’t bog Bride of Chucky down, but also doesn’t really elevate it like Tilly does. Nick Stabile plays Heigl’s forbidden teenage love interest, even though he’s definitely not a teenager. I liked Stabile here — he’s convincing as the handsome sweet boyfriend.
Lastly, sitcom legend John Ritter shows up for a bit as the evil police chief making his Heigl’s life hell. I like Ritter a lot, but I felt bad seeing him in this role because he really doesn’t have anything of substance to do. He doesn’t get to be funny or scary; he really just spouts off some douchey lines and looks all evil. John Ritter is capable of much more, so it’s sad to see him criminally underused.
I think the biggest sin Bride of Chucky commits, though, is not having a worthy script. This script is pretty lazy, and while it’s not nearly as bad as the script for Seed of Chucky, it just leaves you feeling like they could have done a lot better.
The overall tone is very tongue-in-cheek, and unlike the Chucky films that came before it, this one is darkly comedic in nature. The problem isn’t that they chose to go with this kind of tone — the problem is that the execution of it is subpar. I only chuckled maybe twice. The comedic material they throw out here just doesn’t land all that well. Not only is it just not that funny, it’s also not scary in any way. There are some individual scenes that are entertaining to watch, such as the final showdown, but the entertainment factor isn’t consistent. I could only find satisfaction in a handful of isolated scenes here.
Bride of Chucky has isolated moments of entertainment and Jennifer Tilly knocks it out of the park, but the script just isn’t capable of providing consistent satisfaction.
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