Monday, 30 September 2013

Horror Double Bill - CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013) and DARK TOUCH (2013)

It occurred to me recently that I've been treating horror cinema rather harshly of late. Our relationship has never lost that fire, but I've sorta been cheating on the genres cinematic output and focusing my attention far more on the literary side of things. I've been exploring a whole host of new authors, and re-reading some of the greats, and in doing so, I've partially abandoned the wondrous world of film for a time.

Not cool.

Well, its finally our favorite time of year - the fall, and with that comes that old familiar burning desire to vegetate on the sofa with endless buckets of popcorn, and give the better half a reason to dump our sorry, macabre-centric asses and find a more mentally balanced partner. 

I like to believe that for every leave that falls in the autumn, a horror fan somewhere on our crazy planet downs a cold one in honor of Jason, Micheal, Chucky, Freddy, Leatherface et all. Its a good time to be alive, man. And with the change in weather, I've found my second wind...

Yep, I've been watching a shit-ton of dark cinema this past week, and while it ain't all been a skip through a daisy field, there have been some pretty high watermarks to vanquish the bitter memory of the low.

But look, we're all busy here, so I'll cut to the chase...

Time ain't on my side of late, and it pains me to not get the word out about the movies I see, so I thought I'd try a different technique.

The reviews will be shorter than my usual, but hopefully concise, and maybe even point you in the direction of some movies you may have overlooked, or that may have been unfairly treated at the hands of the mainstream critics out there. Any suggestions are welcome, of course, kids.

So, no more foreplay...lets get on the bed.

First up is :


Synopsis - After a long hiatus, the killer doll is back causing more bloodshed and mayhem. When an isolated mother and her wheelchair bound daughter receive a mysterious gift in the mail - an old school 80's Good-Guy doll - it sets in motion the evil Chucky's latest slaughter-spree, as the families past comes back to haunt them. With a knife. A sharp, sharp knife...

Everyone loves Chucky, don't they? The violent little bastard has been cutting a swathe through cinema since the late 80's, and when looked at in retrospect, the franchise as a whole actualy stands uop pretty well. Now, of course, SEED OF CHUCKY fucked all that up royally somewhere around a decade ago, but with CURSE, the original creator, writer and director of CHILDS PLAY has made a valiant and damned entertaining return to what made the half-pint headcase such a cool character in the first place. 

For my money, this is the best in the series since the first. Its got a wonderful, Gothic setting - a huge mansion, full of dark corridors, brooding architecture and cobweb-ridden attics, a stunningly beautiful and very talented lead, (the daughter of Brad Douriff, no less), some genuine tension, great cinematography, and - praise be - no fucking CG. 

Chucky has never looked better, nor felt more threatening that in CURSE. The lampooning air that permeated the previous two entries in the franchise has been jettisoned in favor of back-to-basics scares, a more serious tone, a reliance on atmosphere and eeriness, and a plot that actually tries to forward the series in some ways. Its all pretty tip-top for a chapter in a franchise that spans three decades. By this point in Jason's career, he was killing kids on a spaceship while dressed up like the gay-porno version of Robocop.

It ain't flawless - the tone of the final scene is too light to fit in with whats come before, some of the kills happen off-screen, and there are some glaring visual inconsistencies, (and no, I don't mean in Chucky ever-changing appearance; that's always been the case) - but its a determined return to form for the homicidal 'Good-Guy Doll'. Well worth checking out and without doubt a perfect flick for the Halloween season.

7.5 Creepy Little Bastards out of 10


Synopsis - In the aftermath of the brutal slaying of her family, a young girl insists it was supernatural forces that killed them. As she moves into a caring families home and attempts to escape her horrific past, traumas resurface and she learns that not only is she right, but she may be the key to what occurred. 

For a small indie film, DARK TOUCH is making some sizable waves on the festival circuit. Its already being proclaimed, 'the superior telekinesis thriller of the year', (the other being the upcoming new adaptation of Stephen Kings CARRIE), and while I disagree on some counts, I can see why the film is garnering such credit among my fellow critics. This is a dark, mature and occasionally disturbing look at child abuse, and the viral nature of the harm it inflicts upon the innocent. It's a violent expression of the inherent anger we feel as a society towards the harming of our young, and its a decent little Irish export. What it's not however, is the masterpiece its being heralded as

Initially, this bleak, depressing little horror film feels a little chaotic in its pacing. Going in blind, its at first a little tough to get to grips with the directors intent, but stick with it. The prolonged opening makes way for some pretty interesting stuff.. 

The performances are all solid, and all the kids manage to hold their own with the more experienced adult cast. The lead actress puts in an especially haunting performance, and those of you sporting geek-vision may spot Rikkon from the mighty GAME OF THRONES in there too. Where the fuck is he now that Bran's ditched him anyway?

The hype surrounding DARK TOUCH may have some viewers setting their expectations a little too high. After all, its not a great film - the pacing lacks a certain focus, and the overall tone may be too despairing for some - but it is a worthwhile film. It's well shot and directed, and made with a real passion and a real message that, sadly, holds great relevance in today's society. It's refreshing to see new talent spring forth with such an authentic and impassioned voice, but I couldn't help finding the whole en-devour a little disjointed and often lacking in subtlety. 

Go in with an open mind, and you may enjoy it. I've been wrong before, man. 

5.5 Telekinetic Terrors out of 10


  1. I like the fact that Curse actually tries to go back to its roots, all the while following up from where the rest had left off. I'll tell you, those cameos were a big treat for a small(er) budgeted flick!

    1. Agreed. Some of the flashbacks didnt quite work for me, but I appreciated that they tried.

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