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Ronnie Yu
Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Katherine Heigl
Writing Credits:
Don Mancini

Chucky discovers the perfect mate to kill and revive into the body of another doll.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 8/28/2018

• Audio Commentary with Director Ronny Yu
• Audio Commentary with Writer Don Mancini and Actors Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif
• “Spotlight on Location” Featurette
• Trailer


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Bride of Chucky [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 14, 2019)

For better or for worse, I grew up the "Golden Age" of slasher movies. From Halloween in 1978 through Friday the 13th in 1980 and A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, I was in pretty much the prime viewing demographic when these notables and many other wannabes hit the screens.

For a time, I enjoyed these kinds of horror films, but as the decade rolled on, the genre started to fade. New series like Child’s Play infused some life into the ailing body, but as the 1990s started, the slasher genre was pretty much dead.

However, that started to change in 1996 with the release of Scream. That film offered horror for the postmodern ironic 1990s.

As with so much of the decade's creative work, it made the concept that the audience was in on the gag part of its appeal. And it succeeded in that regard, as Scream was a lot of fun, both as a comedy and as a horror film, and it sparked a mini-resurgence in the genre.

As such, some of the old stalwarts came rushing back into the fold. 1998 saw two sequels to long-dormant series: Halloween H2O and Bride of Chucky. The latter definitely reflected the new "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" bent of horror films in the post-Scream era, so it clearly brought Chucky firmly into the era’s standards.

After his murderous antics in prior movies, authorities hold the dismembered remains of the Chucky doll (Brad Dourif) under lock and key. In his human form, Chucky paired with girlfriend Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly), and she manages to stitch him back together and restore his life.

Tiffany believes Chucky wanted to marry her, but he rejects that notion. Irate over this, Tiffany keeps Chucky confined to a playpen and taunts him with a “bride doll” as a friend.

Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t sit well with Chucky. He escapes from his prison, murders Tiffany and gets her spirit sucked into the female doll. The pair then embark on a violent mission to restore their souls to human bodies.

While Bride pays lip service to the new ironic method of filmmaking, it still looks like the same old schlock. Scream succeeded because it delighted in the genre's conventions while it mocked them. It also offered a strong cast who provided solid performances across the board.

Bride, on the other hand, lacks in both regards, and its attempts to demonstrate self-knowledge generally fall flat. For example, at the start of the film we see a police evidence room, and we're shown an array of materials.

These include the masks worn by Friday’s Jason and Halloween’s Michael. While cute, this doesn’t seem terribly witty. A few more self-referential examples happen throughout the film, but not enough to alter the movie's more traditional arc.

Again, Scream celebrated the conventions of horror movies while it also stood them on their ears. Bride offers just more of the same "mysterious killer" nonsense.

Scream gave us strong and memorable characters as the killer's prey. Bride provides John Ritter and some attractive but generic teens, none of whom ever develop the audience’s interest.

A lot of the charm of the original Child's Play revolved around the anachronistic qualities of the killer. In that film, we we found a cute doll who did and said some rather unpleasant things.

Bride ups the ante by giving us two dolls, a sign the filmmakers felt desperate for inspiration. Rule of thumb: whenever a series adds a major character, it means they're short on ideas.

Now that Tiffany's in the fold, it allows us to see all sorts of wacky doll antics. There she is, smoking - wacky!

Ooh, now Tiff and Chucky are getting it on – dolls having sex! Wacky!

She's cooking him dinner! No way – dolls can’t eat, but there it is! Wacky!

At least Bride goes down a different narrative path than the first three. We finally get no sign of Andy, the tormented boy from those flicks, and the story heads down different avenues.

In addition, Bride offers a professional piece of work, and director Ronny Yu does what he can to make it go. Unfortunately, it's a flat piece of cheese.

Brad Dourif and Jennifer Tilly offer some decent voice work, but it's not enough. They should have left Chucky in the lock up.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Bride of Chucky appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not terrible, the transfer seemed lackluster.

Definition became an issue due to oversharpening. Edge haloes cropped up throughout the film, and these gave the image an awkward overly sharp feel that didn’t feel natural.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and print flaws stayed minor. I noticed an occasional speck but nothing much.

In terms of palette, Bride opted for a fairly blue sensibility. Though the colors seemed adequate, they lacked much life.

Blacks looked a little too dense, while shadows could be slightly murky. This wasn’t an awful presentation but it should’ve been better.

Though heavy on ambience, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack appeared more than adequate. The soundfield gave us a decent sense of atmosphere, and it kicked into higher gear when necessary.

Unsurprisingly, those moments occurred mainly during the scenes that conveyed action/horror elements. Though a lot of the track lacked ambition, the “money shots” kicked to life well enough to balance out the less involving bits.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other problems.

Music was bright and dynamic, while effects appeared solid, without obvious distortion or other issues. While not a great mix, the audio seemed acceptable for the material.

On the Blu-ray, we find two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from director Ronny Yu. In this running, screen-specific track, Yu discusses how he came to the project, effects and puppets, cast and performances, sets and location, music, visual design, and related domains.

When he talks, Yu offers some good observations about the film, especially as they relate to the challenges that come with the movie’s effects/puppets. However, Yu falls silent so often that this track becomes a disappointment. We just don’t get enough content to fill the space effectively.

For the second commentary, we hear from writer Don Mancini and actors Brad Dourif and Jennifer Tilly. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, characters and story, music, and other production areas.

Light and fun, the commentary entertains. Tilly provides a bubbly personality and she gives us an interesting perspective.

Mancini grounds the piece and Dourif throws in enough to make his presence worthwhile. This becomes a likable and reasonably informative chat.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find Spotlight on Location, a 10-minute, 22-second reel with notes from Mancini, Yu, Tilly, producer David Kirschner, puppeteer coordinator Kevin Yagher, and actors John Ritter, Nick Stabile, and Katherine Heigl.

“Spotlight” looks at the project’s development, story/characters, doll design and execution. We get a few good notes – mainly about the puppets – but this remains a highly promotional show.

With Bride of Chucky, the Child’s Play franchise veered from fairly straight horror to a much more comedic, self-aware vibe. The shift didn’t work, as Bride lacked the intelligence and cleverness required to pull off the ironic tone. The Blu-ray provides mediocre picture along with fairly good audio and bonus materials. I’m glad Bride alters the prior template, but it just doesn’t succeed as a movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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