Sometimes independent filmmakers need to think outside the box to get their projects off the ground, they been known to release movie posters but without a script or film just to generate attention, or suggestive marketing campaigns, often they’re willing to take the risk to get the success. That’s where director Jon Watts (who since has gone on to directed two Spider-Man movies and possibly a third) along with screenwriter Christopher Ford, created a fake trailer with guts to slap Eli Roth’s name on it as producer, who instead of being outraged was thoroughly impressed with the ‘ballsy’ maneuver. Their tactic got them the green light to proceed forward, but at a painstaking slow process, for their feature, after finished it took nearly two-years to receive a release date first theatrically by Dimension Films and later on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment. Another problem that many filmmakers face is trying to stretch the initial concept of their scripts from trailers (i.e. 5-minute tales) into a feature, and herein lies the next issue with Clown beyond the initial premise, not much else exists. One needs to take the time to flesh-out the story, and give more depth to any mythology occurring in the script, exploring why or how something becomes cursed, all to lengthen the storytelling with a balance for entertainment; perhaps during the draft process discovering the subplot is a more intriguing aspect. However, in the end hindsight is always 20/20, but at least in filmmaking there’s plenty of research and reference material to help.
Horror films featuring clowns are nothing new, and of late the stories vary from wonderful and terrorizing to mundane, nevertheless coulrophobia will likely continue for quite a while, though pandemic themed movies in zombies possibly to arise once more. Often enough clown movies contain freakish clowns and actions, such as Circus of the Dead (2014) and others seek to rely on filler storylines for example Clowntown (2016) either way they all try to relate back to some sort of traumatic for viewers making them uncomfortable with Stephen King’s It (1990) or over-the-top slasher Stitches (2012).
Kent (Andy Powers) is a real estate agent and loving father who wants to give his clown-obsessed son, Jack (Christian Distefano), the birthday party of his dreams; sadly the party clown cancels, hence Kent is forced to think fast in order to save the day. Hence, what’s a dad going to do, he recalls finding an old clown costume, at a house he was preparing to sell, he puts it on without haste and hurries to the party, performing as Dummo, the clown, with wonderful clownish stunts. Afterwards the first of many problems arise, he can’t remove the suit, it has fused to his skin, making matters worse the multi-colored hair and red nose are permanently stuck too. It leads to hopeless and dread as well as sorrow, but then he learns of sickening truths, his body begins to transform, into a monstrous demon clown, making him a threat to everyone including his own family. This of course adds to mounting tensions between his wife Meg (Laura Allen (Hysteria )) and himself which moves the storyline to more a dramatic standpoint and begins to hint towards a Lifetime movie, while continuing to struggle with the plot direction but adding in bit of blood munching for the demon clown that originated in Scandinavia.
Watts falls into the same pitfall as do many directors, omitting the steps of fine tuning their plots, smoothing out the storyline, the overall concept sounded very clownlike, but the execution falters greatly, it appears for taking a step forward resulted in two backwards. For example, there was an interesting clown outfit design but there’s an awfully slow transformation from human to demon, now it could mean that Kent tried to resist the metaphysical changes happening to himself, and his moral code wasn’t enough to stop his cursed demise, though that’s all speculation, it’s not conveyed clearly why it is a drawn-out switching from human to demon.
The overall film moves between horror and dark drama at a snail’s pace, which makes the audience suffer and eager to hit the fast forward button. I think most horror fans, enjoy some killer clown flicks whether they are fake or real life, but this clown movie lacks the ability to maintain a constant level of entertainment never achieving any scare factor nor excel on turning a loving parent into a blood hungry creature, this in not Mom and Dad (2017) from far that level of intense violence, I hoped for so much more but alas it misses the meal-ticket.
- The kids aren’t alright.
- They’re as terrifying as you think
- No one is safe
IMDb Rating: 5.7/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10