DIMENSION FILMS (2014)

Director: Jon Watts

Starring: Laura Allen, Andy Powers, Peter Stormare, Christian Destefano

There's no floating balloons here.

Clown begins right away, without the need for lengthy exposition and character backstory. There are no half hour scenes of the happy McCoy family frolicking in fields to show us just how happy they are. Instead, we are immediately shown a family party, and that the father/husband would rather be a clown for the afternoon then see his son disappointed – the backstory or emotional setting is painted right away. It’s refreshing to see this angle being taken, as it frees up the remaining duration to develop the psychological downfall of Kent (Powers), how he struggles with what is happening to him, to his family and the slow decay that the ‘Cloyne’ has on him - the Cloyne being the ancient evil that clings to Kent through the clown suit.

The pacing is fairly pedestrian, with Watts focusing on the disintegration of Kent as opposed to setting up a simple slasher horror which works in the films favour, and saves it from being a simple gorefest, though the film could potentially have been better served with an extra 20-30 minutes runtime.

However, there is gore here, and when it’s necessary, there's plenty of it (the film is produced by Eli Roth, what do you expect?) so if you don’t like a bit of splatter and meaty bits, cover your eyes.

Wait, did that clown ornament in the McCoy’s house move?

Andy Powers produces a commendable performance of a man struggling to understand what’s happening to him (he can’t remove a clown suit...), the disintegration of his mental state and the effect on his family. He looks genuinely unsettling the further into the movie we go, and has a silent desperation about his performance. A fine addition to the killer clown annals.

The idea of the clown suit being an evil from ancient Northern Europe was a nice idea (because Nordic sounds a bit terrifying anyway) and giving a backstory of the Cloyne was helpful, also not having it fed to us for 15 minutes was beneficial too. We got the backstory, now move on.

With all films of this variety, a lot of times there will be moments that you can see coming from a mile off and Clown is no different. The musical cues were foreboding too, almost allowing you to prepare for what’s coming. Don’t expect too many surprises along the way, but I will say the moments are handled well and with a primitive rage, to show this Cloyne isn’t going to be telling jokes anytime soon.

As the Cloyne develops and transforms, the voice they decided to use for him is a negative aspect of the movie. The electronically altered demonic voice has been used over and over, and detracts from what could have been that bit more scary. Give us something more genuine sounding! (What does a genuine demon sound like? God knows, but I doubt it’s like autotune) I did like the variation on the clown suit though, gone are the garish colours associated with the clown and in is a snakeskin-like dull suit with grungy hair. The rainbow blood was a fantastic visual idea and provided that something a bit different. Good choice. Further into the film, the glow in the dark location provides a vast divergence in visuals and colours and is a highlight of the film’s look.

The dog scenes were odd, but enjoyable, and added an old school layer to the film – landing just on the right side of acceptable.

I’m sure that clown ornament wasn’t there just now…

Overall, Clown is a good film, with good development throughout, plenty of jolts and some great visuals. A few niggles along the way, but an enjoyable watch nonetheless – it felt predictable in parts but also original in others.

Finally, check the kids soft play area before you let them loose in there next time...

August 27th 2016

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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