Quoth Chucky himself: “You just can’t keep a Good Guy down.” and if the repeated staying power of the franchise is any indication, the red-headed little shitmay be a lot of things, but he certainly doesn’t exaggerate.
The most recent proof of the Chuckster’s inhuman resilience was the franchise’s jump from features to the small screen as the plastic alter-ego of Charles Lee Ray continued his reign of terror courtesy of the folks over at Syfy.
The first season, while sometimes visibly straining at it’s budget, proved to be a mischievously unpredictable beast, throwing new characters, old favourites and seven movies full of batshit crazy continuity into a blender and hitting the on switch to create a gaudy, camp horror/comedy that topped everything off with some suprisingly effecting LGBTQ+ issues and a boatload of vicious fatalities. So can franchise creator Don Mancini do it again as his unholy creation lives on in an eagerly anticipated second series?
We rejoin the action where we left off, with Chucky’s longest surviving opponent, Andy Barclay, driving away in a truck packed full of possessed Chucky dolls while being held at gunpoint by a Tiffany doll, but as a clutch of Chucky’s hop out of their boxes, a rare stroke of luck sees Barclay retrieving the gun and blowing Tiffany’s head off. Of course, this galvanizes Andy’s sizably psychotic ginger cargo into action and they attempt fo storm the truck’s cab leaving Andy no choice by to drive the vehicle off a cliff in an attempt to take as many Chuckys with him as he can.
We then shift ahead to six months later and we find series one protagonist, Jake, living with a foster family in Salem, Massachusetts after being separated from boyfriend Devon as everyone involved is trying to rebuild his life and his relationship with fellow foster child Gary is helping immensely as the younger boy is like the little brother Jake never had.
However, soon sinister events begin to occur as both Jake, Devon and third survivor Lexy all start getting suspicious phone calls from a familiar voice and tension rises even further when Lexy’s sister, Caroline, who once found herself under the devil doll’s influence, is given a Wedding Belle, the same brand of doll that Tiffany once found her soul trapped within. Matters are also not helped by Lexy’s growing drug habit that dulls her PTSD and that the fact that her self obsessed mother is taking another crack at Mayor despite her last term ending in mass homicide.
However, when Chucky does strike, its quick, sadistic and utterly damaging and the results of his latest assault leave our trio of heroes shipped off to juvenile prison as an unknown number of Chucky Dolls plot their revenge.
For a franchise with such an incredibly dence continuity, Halloween II starts fast and ends slow, presumably in an attempt to not lose everyone immediately out of the gate with its many colliding plot lines an characters. So, with a fast paced opening finishing off a few of the dangling loose ends, we also see the (presumably temporary) exit of the doll version of Tiffany and Andy Barclay himself as he selflessly drives himself off a cliff in an attempt to kill the army of Chuckys that are lurking in his truck. Of course if anyone out there genuinely thinks Andy is dead (or the presumed deceased Kyle too for that matter), then they clearly haven’t been paying attention to season 1 which focused chiefly on the main core characters while slowly drip feeding in the legacy cast. So that means not only are Andy and Kyle off the board for the time being, but there’s precious little info on the tempestuous relationship between “Jennifer Tilly” and a limbless, partially possessed Mica too and while this may irk fans wanting to have the entire cast ready to go from episode one, Don Mancini obviously wants to duplicate the same pattern of steadily escalating chaos as the first season.
With that being said, having Chucky deliver some threatening calls seems a little drab compared to everything that’s gone before but it does allow some breathing space to get us up to speed with our leads.
Jake is in a far better headspace than the doll melting outsider he was when we first met him, while Devon seems to have reverted back to merely a “boyfriend” role despite the fact they’ve been separated by six months but it kind of seems like its business as usual as the show is confidently putting its queer relationship front and centre this time instead of slowly letting it develop. However, the most interesting character by far is now Lexy, who’s drug snorting phase is in full force as she tries to get her sister to comprehend how dangerous dolls are while seeming as rational as an alley cat off its nips with kitty litter.
However, there is a strong sense of “been there done that” with this season premiere as this season’s new location, that of a religiously strict juvie centre (which will no doubt target Jake and Devon’s relationship) isn’t really teased until the closing moments of the episode.
But while the character stuff admittedly feels a little samey, thankfully Chucky saves the day with a trio of scenes that keep the episode afloat in the spiteful way only he can. Firstly, while the sight of numerous Chuckys crawling on the roof of a speeding truck is admittedly awesome, far more fun is the inter-Chucky banter as two of the doll’s hive mind decides to pick on a third for having less hair than the lead of a Fast And Furious movie. The second instance is an incenced Chucky ringing back to assure on of his victims that his is emphatically not a homophobe and that his victims are killed on a purely random basis which will no doubt come into play when his kids, Glen and Glenda re-enter the picture later on in the season.
However, the final instance is a hand reminder exactly how nasty Chucky can be when he invites himself over with his plastic thumb hovering over the button of a homemade bomb with the intention of wiping out Jake, Devon and Lexy (no to mention an oblivious Gary) all in one go. Not only does this lay out the fact that with numerous Chucky’s apparently still alive, any doll still kicking will have no compunction in sacrificing itself to kill any enemies of the Chucky “hive” and as if to underline this, the episode has Chucky manage to gleefully blow up Gary (complete with the smoke briefly forming the killer’s sneering face) making season 2’s first official victim a freakin’ child.
So, it’s sort of slow going for the start of season 2, but some choice Chucky moments (he’s a big fan of Uber, apparently) and Mancini’s intense style keep things ticking over until the plot really kicks into gear.