First, don’t expect this film to match the level of Andy Muschietti’s It movie, besides the are different realms of financial backing, this movie, from writer and director Aaron Mirtes serves as his debut feature film, and leans clearly to low-budget horror while generating a few scares. This doesn’t mean Aaron is without merit, he’s worn the hats to many of the jobs on a movie set, yes most were short films, yet passionate about the projects, in addition he directed Curse of the Nun (2018), released in advance of director Corin Hardy’s The Nun, slated for a September release. High Octane Pictures, distributed Clowntergeist on all platforms on September 12th, which some have described simply as IT meets Poltergeist , and likely found late at night on the Syfy channel but trying to find its way through a highly contested crowded clown car might prove very difficult. However, one needs to look at something about the significance of the release date, at the time IT (2017), surged rightfully as a blockbuster and was released on September 8, 2017 and another crazed clown surfaced called Circus Kane (2017) also released on the same day slated on the VOD platform. Yes, obvious cashing in love affair with clowns, the public had, likely still does the murderous Art the Clown roaming the streets from Terrifier (2016). Clowns have become the new version zombies, if one recalls those films dominated the marketplace with everyone releasing a version similar to each other, but under the forgotten big top, the abundance of clown horror is the only place to find them anymore. Although, the horror fans do clearly remember the nutty actions of Bill Oberst Jr. in Circus of the Dead (2014), a movie clearly aching for a sequel, perhaps at the legendary and infamous clown motel, that next to an abandoned graveyard. Creepy Clowns!

Brittany Belland (The Sleeper [2012]) plays Emma, a college student who suffers coulrophobia and her friend Heather (Monica Baker), who seek and plan to make some money at the local soda shop, along with their co-worker Jonah (Sean Patrick Murray), while Pops, the boss (Tom Seidman) only cares about his business’ bottom line. Then, the introduction of a sinister spirit inhabiting the body of Ribcage the Clown (Eric Corbin) terrorizing the small town where she lives, writes anyone’s name and the time of their death on a red balloon, and leaves it for them.  A tad similar to the movie It, with regard to  clown and red balloon with little tinge of The Ring, as anyone can figure out Emma finds one with her name on it and must determine a way to survive against the spirit. Quickly she and Heather find themselves in a series of dangerous situations, though unsure how Heather plays a factor, her name is not on the balloon next a subtext of rules exists somewhere, mention this as later Ribcage breaks his own rules and other guidelines become very flexible. Although the viewers learn about another presumed dead girl in the area, which helps pull in her father Ken (Burt Culver (Ghostline [2015]), who knows of this killer clown  and seeks to defend Emma while gearing up for a fight. Ribcage doesn’t bring much madness to the film, appears a tad withdrawn, lacking some direction and shows his common killing methods too often.

Clowntergeist runs only 80 minutes, including the credits, making this indie movie struggling with budget, as there’s no backstory on Ribcage, it only works if the clown instills fear and loathing every time he appears on the screen. This doesn’t happen, it appears as if the script was written a bit loose, allowing for adjustments to come, when things felt ‘off’ lacking a smoother storytelling and dialogue. While the film shows promise with cinematography by Chaz Olivier it lacks in violence, fear and any major frights, working everything in baby steps, and playing it all very close to the vest rather than going gusto.

Lately clowns have been feeling fairly depressed that their business got run out of town and feel gutted or they want to gut either way the body count needs to go up, and up, to get the passion of the horror fans, oohing for more carnage. However, Ribcage never quite tickles it correctly for viewers, and might make a smattering of the watchers’ grin or even smirk, but the staying ability not likely to stay, like that of a constant barrage of attacks a sinister spirit needs to deliver at a feverish pace, not sluggish from overload of sugar filled blood.


The reason you’re afraid of clowns

IMDb Rating: 3.1/10

Baron’s Rating: 3/10