Friday, October 28, 2016

"Clown" (2014)

12 Days of Halloween 2016 (9)

Jon Watts, the current director working on “Spiderman: Homecoming”, got his start in film with a strong dose of gumption. He and his friend wrote a screenplay for a movie called “Clown” and then produced a fake trailer for it. Without permission, they claimed that the movie was produced by Eli Roth who—upon seeing the trailer—decided to actually produce it.

It is a great concept for a scary story: Kent finds out that his son’s birthday clown has cancelled. However, Kent finds a clown costume in the old house he is preparing for sale, and saves the birthday party. The problem is that he can’t get the costume off afterwards. Slowly, he is transformed into a child-eating clown-monster!

Unfortunately for such a great concept, the art direction lets us down. The effects and make-up are good, but the creature in the end is simply a monster, and doesn’t really resemble a clown. How is such a creature ever supposed to attract its prey? The creepy thing about clowns is that they look cheerful, silly, and harmless. It is only sensitive, intelligent people who know that something fishy is going on.

In spite of that quibble, the film is well executed. There are a couple of great set-pieces—in particular the scene in the playground. And the body-horror here is top notch. Not quite at the level of Cronenberg’s “The Fly”, but still squirm inducing.

Could Kent have done something different to avoid his fate? Was he wrong in simply trying to make his son’s birthday special? I think we can all say without a hint of sarcasm: when you mess around with clowns you get what’s coming to you.

And, it goes without saying, but just in case: this film is not for everyone.  There is a little bit of cussing, but the gore and fear-factors are pretty high...

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