CHUCKY – SEASON 2
Directors: Jeff Renfroe, Samir Rehem, Don Mancini, Leslie Libman, John Hyams / Writers: Don Mancini, Kim Garland, Rachael Paradis, Mallory Westfall, Nick Zigler, Alex Delyle, Isabella Gutierrez, Amanda Blanchard / Cast: Zackary Arthur, Bjorgvin Arnarson, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Brad Dourif, Devon Sawa, Fiona Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Bella Higginbotham, Rosemary Dunsmore, Lachlan Watson, Alex Vincent, Christine Elise, Andrea Carter, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Meg Tilly, Barbara Alyn Woods, Carina Battrick, Billy Boyd.
Body Count: 15
Laughter Lines: “You’re worried about me? There’s a corpse in the closet and a killer doll on the loose – I’m worried about me.”
Given the ajar ending of Season 1, it was pretty clear that we’d be coming back to the valley of the dolls, which rapidly ties up how things were left off, with Andy in the truck o’ Good Guy Dolls, at (doll) Tiffany’s gunpoint. He succeeds in driving it over a cliff and everybody thinks the nightmare is over.
Several months later, Jake and Devon have been fostered by other families far apart, while Lexy is attending therapy at the behest of her politically-thirsty mom and liberally popping pills to get through each day. When the three of them reunite on Halloween, Chucky reappears to finish them off and ends up detonating a bomb that kills Jake’s pre-teen foster brother. Naturally blamed and written off as problem kids, the trio are packed off to the Catholic School of the Incarnate Lord – Charles Lee Ray’s boyhood residence – ruled by the rather dogmatic Father Bryce (Devon Sawa, but reportedly no relation to either of his earlier characters).
Bad kids galore should provide a buffet of meat for Chucky to torment, a la the military academy seen way back in Child’s Play 3, but instead Season 2 embarks on a rather restrained path, with the few remaining dolls being quickly dealt with and, in one case, deprogrammed and turned into a Good Good Guy, who Jake quickly believes, along with new team member, Nadine.
Meanwhile, Tiffany struggles to prop up her Jennifer Tilly identity, and, when non-binary twins Glen and Glenda arrive for a visit, they’re accompanied by Jennifer’s real-life sister Meg, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, Sutton Stracke, and a mysterious butler. The episode openly excludes the other narrative entirely, functioning as a bizarre farce that ends with quad-amputee Nica being liberated, while Chucky ‘presents’ to the audience. It’s a weird bump in the road, exploiting Tilly’s comedic muscle, but sadly really sucks you out of the flow, reminding me of a review I saw way back when that posited the series has become a bit of an in-joke that only Tilly and Don Mancini are in on.
Things eventually realign: Kyle and Andy return, the priests and nuns finally face up to the reality of Chucky, the kids fall out, make up, fall out, make up, and then it kinda stops with one episode to go. In the finale, we leap another few months forward, to Christmas, back in Hackensack, where the final Chucky doll makes a play for the kids one last time, and Tiffany, now wanted for murder, tries to get her mitts on a new doll to transfer herself into.
Where the movies had slowed to an instalment every few years, the demands of a 10-part series and all of the criss-crossing storylines built up over thirty-plus years becomes an entanglement difficult to write itself out of. Consequently, the result is choppy and peppered with ideas and concepts seen in earlier movies as various character motivations collide. Dare I say, Mancini might need to kill some of his darlings for the next season to up the stakes.
Blurbs-of-interest: Dourif’s other slasher film credits include Color of Night, Trauma, Urban Legend, Chain Letter, Dead Scared, Rob Zombie’s Halloween and its sequel; Jennifer Tilly was also in The Caretaker and Far From Home; Devon Sawa was Alex in Final Destination; Meg Tilly was in Psycho II.