In 2014 the world was offered a unique and twisted tale into the always horrific and unsettling world of horror clowns. From the deranged mind of Eli Roth(serving as producer(and costar?)) comes a dark and grizzly tale of a man who just wants to make his son’s dream come true and ends up living a nightmare he could have never imagined.
This is the story of Kent(Andy Powers), a real-estate agent and workaholic who due to scheduling conflicts finds himself without a clown for his sons birthday party. As luck(?) would have it, or by poor writing, Kent miraculously stumbles upon an old chest in the very house he is in when he receives the bad news about the clown. This chest contains a very old, classical clown costume that Kent wastes no time jumping into, adding some face paint, and proceeds to make himself the star of the show. Almost immediately Kent begins to feel a disheartening occurrence when he struggles to remove the costume and eventually having the suit invoke him completely by a demons curse that begins to transfer Kent into a gruesome creature who must feed on five children before it can descend to the darkness from which it came.
Honestly, this film was all hype and little delivery. Every aspect was there for the makings of a great film, the cast was excellent, the premise was a little hokey but still palatable, but all that was tarnished by the little imperfections that accumulated very quickly. The introduction was rushed, the star went from loving father to trapped clown with a blood lust in 15 minutes, this is poor story-telling because it resulted in “coincidences” that were way too far fetched, such as the mystery chest containing the clown suit just being available at his exact location. Another plot point that left a sour note was the entire character design for the father-in-law, he was just a terrible character who made bad choices and offered no context to the story other than to stir up trouble, which is fair enough for the genre but there are far better ways to provide these types of arcs without including worthless characters. Finally, the demon costume used at the end was horrendous, not even worth a second look. The evil clown is scary because clowns are real, so turning the clown into a demon when he had already transformed into an extremely creepy and volatile clown was just a poor direction entirely.
Andy Powers offered a magnificent performance as Kent, he broke the barrier between film and reality and actually left you feeling like he was truly trapped inside not only the suit but the character as well. Well played Mr. Powers, well played.
Peter Stormare was a close second as far as best actor for this film is concerned. Stormare plays Karlsson, the seemingly homicidal madman who’s idea of helping Kent is by decapitating him and thus returning the demon back to depths from which it came. Peter Stormare is a naturally creepy individual and he expresses that angle to the full extent in his work.
The effects in this film were 50/50, and it’s unfortunate because they had the tools and budget to make it so much stronger. A film of this caliber doesn’t require CGI and all the bells and whistles of new-school horror, all this film needed was good make-up, good settings, and good lighting. All three of these bases were covered until the end when our protagonist/antagonist transforms into a cheesy rubber-suited demon which took viewers from the edge of there seat and pushed them back with a scoff and proverbial slap to the face.
People expect things from Eli Roth productions, some expect the best and others expect garbage, but either way there is an expectation and this film somehow managed to provide both of those expectations. The hype surrounding this movie was gigantic in the horror world, it was highly anticipated and scouted out during it’s entire production. Unfortunately it proved to be too good to be true when it had the genre by the balls and then proceeded to spit in its face with poor direction and unnecessary cos-play. The magic in this film was of a “Merlin” potential and it gave it all up for a cheap rubber suit. For shame, Jon Watts(Director).
Total: An extremely unfortunate 5.2 out of 10 Squeaky Red Noses.
Thanks for reading, hopefully my next review will be more positive.