Documentary Review – Living With Chucky (2022)
Director Kyra Gardner made the documentary Living with Chucky with the intention of getting to meet her extended work-family. Talk about burying the lede, as for some reason, that goal isn’t made clear until halfway through the movie. Instead, what we get to begin with is a vapid overview of the franchise. Sure, the anecdotes from the cast and crew are fun, but this documentary only seems to scratch the surface of its subject matter.
Living with Chucky isn’t all bad though. In fact, Kyra has an interesting perspective as the daughter of designer Tony Gardner, who took over the special effects starting with Seed of Chucky. Unfortunately, the documentary also gets bogged down with a lot of filler.
Kyra asks the production team about their experiences leaving their families when it came time to shoot a Chucky. There’s an authenticity to everyone talking about how hard, lonely, or even shitty of an experience it was when they had to “ship out” and make one of these shows. The filmmaker even turns the camera on herself, and she does have a unique angle for this documentary, but there’s very little to be said. It’s fascinating that we never ask Kyra’s mother about what her experience was like.
If you’ve ever thought about going into the business of movie making, I’d recommend checking this documentary out. Even if you’re not a fan of the horror franchise, the second half of the documentary does a great job of explaining the sacrifices the production team made in their family and personal lives to film the Chucky movies.
The beginning of the documentary is dedicated to the history of the franchise, but the overview of the franchise is very much glossed over. So much so that the discussion about Chucky 3 is more a summation of the movie. There are a few anecdotes from Alex Vincent (the original child actor who played Andy, but who isn’t in the movie), although none of the actors are on hand to discuss the film. Later in the documentary, it’s revealed that Don Mancini wanted to introduce the idea of multiple Chuckies in the third movie, but that topic never gets fleshed out.
The rest of the documentary focuses on the legacy and fanbase of the franchise, which may very well be the most polished section. Some of the talking heads such as Abigail Breslin, Marlon Wayans and Lin Shaye are brought in to weigh on the horror genre and Child’s Play franchise. Though at times, the special guests seem like a way to generate attention to this project while also providing a few promotional soundbites.
Living with Chucky is a movie that has its heart in the right place, but the lack of material for its main objective suggests this passion project could be a tightly focused featurette on future re-releases of the Childs Play movies or the television series.
Living with Chucky is streaming on SCREAMBOX and all major digital platforms.
The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511
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