Thursday, October 20, 2016
Halloween playlist #21 - Seed Of Chucky (2004)
What a pile of shit. Back in the mid-90s and early 2000s, Wes Craven had started to change the landscape of popular horror movies, infusing the tired old cliches with a hyper-aware, self-referential style of humor many people now refer to as "meta". So naturally, there were bound to be copycats. Horror has always been a genre that takes radical shifts in style depending on what's popular at the time, but few horror movies have so shamelessly ripped off a style that doesn't suit it as much as Seed of FUCKING Chucky...I apologize, but this piece of piss-gargling slime actively infuriates me when I think about it. So let's get more into why I hate it so much.
Again, Wes Craven popularized the self-aware branch of horror that became very popular, but it worked because he was a pioneer of other styles of horror, and pioneering was like a hobby of his. In the '80s, he created one of the most imitated horror icons of all-time with Freddy Krueger, and even before that made some very gritty rape-revenge films, Last House On The Left and The Hills Have Eyes, which spawned sequels and/or remakes (in spite of the fact that Last House On The Left was already a retelling of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring, one of the best movies of the '60s. Check it out). The point is, Craven had been a huge name in horror for - at that point - roughly 30 years, and his influence and ability to terraform horror was impressive, and the results were often ingenius. He was allowed to mix things up within his franchise, and that's what brought us New Nightmare, one of the most popular Elm Street movies. He earned it. Freddy earned it. This glistening turd of a movie was the 5th entry in a mostly forgettable series that, up until the previous film, didn't really have much of a sense of humor about itself, and was made by people who weren't strong writers, directors, or well-suited at all to making anything more than guilty pleasure crap that could please audiences in their late teens who just wanted to watch some disposable horror. What the hell made them think they could pull a Wes Craven and make this movie meta? At all?
And this movie was that kind of cringe-inducingly obvious self-referential garbage that could only be written by a hack who thinks he's being super clever by poking fun at the fact that the line between fiction and reality is blurred in this movie. It doesn't hardly poke fun at itself for being shit, just at the fact that Jennifer Tilly is playing herself and Tiffany (AKA The Bride). Oh ho ho, isn't that so clever? And Tiffany thinks Tilly's a slut with low standards, oh ho ho, what a funny thing to say. Doesn't she know that she is she? Oh man what a laugh riot. I'm shitting and pissing myself laughing just at the thought of how funny that is. Let me clue you in, writers, in case you don't understand how humor works (which, if this is any indication, I could only assume is true): being self-aware isn't enough. Would it be funny if a character turned to the camera and said "I'm in a movie"? No? Well, that's what this movie might as well be doing. I tried to enjoy it, and after actually finding things about Bride of Chucky to like, I was open to that. But dear god, how could they not even write one single joke that wasn't just a pile of diarrhea? And even worse, diarrhea that was clearly ripping off writing that was actually good. That's even more offensive. If they had been trying to imitate something that already sucked and wasn't trying to act like they were being so clever about it, maybe this wouldn't have been such a puke stain. But they aimed for the stars, and bashed their heads on the ceiling in their way up, only to plummet out of control into the basement. A basement filled with mold and rotten cardboard boxes stuffed full of rejected script ideas and the stench of coffee breath.
I am not one to usually hate on a movie because of how derivative it is. If a movie is good, it's good, even if the idea is a rip-off, or the execution is something of a clone as well. I just mentioned Last House On The Left, which I thought was a really good movie, and a very blatant copy of an existing movie that was much better. But it was still good in spite of that fact. There are tons of found footage horror movies that I enjoy that are basically rip-offs of Blair Witch and/or Paranormal Activity, but they usually bring something new to the table, or at least execute these ideas in a way that helps set them apart in some way. Being derivative is something that is bound to happen at some point, and especially in horror, a genre that changes trends so frequently. So it's not just the shamelessly lazy meta qualities in this movie that make it so painful. It's not even fully that it doesn't have any funny jokes. And it isn't even entirely due to the fact that there isn't anything even remotely creepy about the movie in any way, shape, or form. It isn't because the filmmakers tried too hard, but failed due to their considerable lack of talent. It honestly could have gotten away with several of these things on their own and it wouldn't have been a total disaster.
But what we have here is a movie that doesn't know what the hell it's trying to do, say, or convey in any way. How was I supposed to feel when watching this movie? Was I supposed to laugh? The jokes were weak, lazy, and not nearly as frequent as I would expect from a comedy, so I can't imagine that was the full intention. Was I supposed to be afraid? Yeahhh, I think the 4th one killed that part of the franchise in a way that describing the plot as a "killer doll movie" didn't already do, so I know it can't be that. Was I supposed to be drawn in by the human characters and Jennifer Tilly's plot with Redman and trying to become a bigger star? I honestly doubt it, that stuff is all so sloppily thrown in and used more as a vehicle for lousy meta humor than anything. So it all comes down to the title: Seed Of Chucky. Chucky and Tiffany's son (or daughter) is intended to be a sympathetic character with a tragic backstory. You're supposed to care about this character, I'm assuming. And maybe I could have, they gave him/her an interesting enough introduction, and there was some potential to make this a Chucky movie with some character development. Sure, why not? Well, the problem here is that they never give the Seed anything to do. This is still very much a Chucky movie, and the movie wants to remind you of that whenever it can. So we have a 4-way split between who the lead character is, and only one of them is meant to be the real focus of the story. Seriously. Was this movie just trying to waste all of our time?
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Not only is this an unfunny, uninspired movie that thinks it's way smarter than it actually is, featuring too many lead characters that aren't interesting and we can't become invested in or shocked by, but it manages to do this all while also trying to push a social message by allowing the Seed to choose their gender. You have GOT to be kidding me. This movie seems to think it's capable of tackling a subject as tricky and touchy as gender identity? I guess I'll give it credit, this movie tried to do it before it was cool to talk about these things, but does that mean it handled the subject well? Take a wild fucking guess. I already get annoyed by forced social messages in film, and this one was so glued on, I can't even understand what the hell they thought they were doing it in the first place. This movie doesn't know what the fuck it wants to be. And taking these wild stabs in the dark, it's only managed to stab the liferaft that was already barely keeping it afloat.
To describe this movie in a word would be an impossible task. Because as far as I'm aware, there isn't a word in the English language that encompasses the following: tacky, unfunny, derivative, unimaginative, boring, lifeless, misguided, cluttered, self-satisfying, tasteless, stupid, pretentious, and unpleasant. And I could probably name more, I just don't want to sit here for the rest of the day writing about this cinematic ballsack while letting actual good movies go unwatched. In closing, this isn't a very good movie. If you think it is, that's fine, I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in the nuthouse. And if anyone feels the need to put me through this wretched anus of a film again, just make sure to warn me beforehand, so I can prep an operating table for my self-lobotomy.
Rating: FUCK YOU out of 10