Thursday, September 1, 2016

Clown

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! It's a bit of a crime that this film didn't spend the money to license "Tears of a Clown."



Clown – 2 out of 5

A song once stated that everybody loves a clown but I’m going to guess that the statement was meant to be sarcastic because there aren’t many people in existence that enjoy clowns.  I mean, I guess there has to be some since people still pursue employment in the clown industry but, for the most part, this supposed image of joy and laughter is firmly cemented in the world of horror and terror.  We’ve seen it over and over again where an antagonist within a horror film (or even in real life) dons the make-up of these goofballs and proceeds to create mayhem but Clown offers up a slightly different perspective.

"Mom!  That homeless clown broke in and is sleeping on our couch again!"

Kent (Andy Powers—who clearly has the name of a superhero’s secret identity) and Meg (Laura Allen) are a stereotypical suburban couple who are trying to have a birthday party for their son Jack (Christian Distefano) but the clown that they hired for the party isn’t showing up (I never said they were good parents—I mean, they hired a clown, for Christ’s sake).  Kent finds on old clown costume in a dirty old truck in one of the houses he’s renovating and shows up to the party to save the day.  Kent soon learns he can’t get the costume off and that it is actually taking him over and sending him into a murderous rage and filling him with an insatiable lust for death.  One man, Dr. Martin Karlsson (Peter Stormare), mysteriously has all the answers to this supernatural predicament but warns Meg that her husband is no longer the man she married but an ancient demon that preys on children.

Was there actually a time where people turned to these things for laughs or
is that just a myth?

I’m just going to throw this out there right away:  The premise to this film sounds completely stupid.  Now, before you get pissed off at me, the single person who loved this film and stumbled upon my blog, and you leave a comment about how I am an idiot, I concede that there is also a ton of potential to this premise.  As stupid as it sounds, it also has the real promise to be an excellently crafted dark comedy that is both funny and a little creepy.  Sadly, I don’t think the film lived up to this potential.

Looks like a Banksy piece.

Clown is never an out-right terrible movie but it is held back severely by the fact that so much of it just feels like it is only to achieve the bare minimum.  The film suffers from a complete lack of atmosphere due to the very generic feel due to the most simplest technical aspects of the film.  The lighting, music, editing and camerawork are all very static, vanilla, bland and plain.  It gives the entire project a very cheap feel and it comes off like it is both rushed and a Direct-to-DVD feature.  Nothing about these aspects are actually horribly done it’s just the fact that it all feels very formulaic that it robs the film of a unique look and tone and makes the whole experience feel a tad on the store brand side.  This detail also plays into the film’s tone as it can’t quite master what it is going for.  It was difficult to tell if the film wanted to be truly scary with moments of comedy or if it wanted to be a straight up dark comedy because the tone feels very haphazard and sloppy.  You sometimes get a sense of what it wants to be and there are times where it feels like it accidentally fell into the location it wanted to be but, for the most part, it sorta felt like it was stumbling and struggling with what its genre identity was going to be.

This is almost definitely a fetish somewhere on the internet.

The potential to this movie isn’t helped either by the pacing of the story.  The tale wastes no time in getting to the action as Kent’s tragic and frightening tale is set into motion right away and the hardships of learning what is occurring to him unfolds quickly; however, after it’s established what exactly is taking place and the origin of the horror is done, the momentum comes to a screeching halt and the film starts to drag badly.  When you factor in that the movie is fairly tame when it comes to the gore and death factor and you get a film that ultimately feels like it is just not delivering on the promises that it’s excellently crafted trailer gives you.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some elements that are pretty edgy because they concern violence to children but its delivery is undeniably tame and watered down, especially when you compare it to the vast and lush history of the horror genre and the grisly visuals that have been delivered in its time.  There is something to be said about horror that works around showing you everything and lets your imagination run wild but, like I stated, Clown suffers from little to no atmosphere that is conducive to horror so taking away the visceral details isn’t really helping the production of it all.

Laura Allen kinda looks like a young Jessica Lange.

I dream of a day where Stormare is a household name.
I know I sound like I’m harping on the film and that I’m being one of those haters who enjoy hating—no doubt you looked at the score and assumed the worst—but I really didn’t hate the film.  There are a few things I thought very highly of in Clown.  For one, I really liked Peter Stormare in his role.  I think the guy is a great actor and he once again proves he has talent.  Additionally, Andy Powers is pretty decent as Kent.   Sadly, the rest of the cast is a tad generic and serviceable at best but these two are definitely the highlights.  I also found a moment or two funny and there is a very decent jump scare during the climax.  Finally, I thought the design of the clown monster was done very effectively and found him to be very creepy and worthy of the rich history of scary clowns.

There should have been a mid-credit sequence where he's abducted by the Killer
Klowns from outer space.  That way there's crossover potential.

I can’t say I went into Clown with the highest expectations but as I bore witness to the mythology that it had in its story I couldn’t deny that the feature definitely had some promises within its pretty ridiculous concept.  Occasionally, the film lives up to this potential but it is hampered harshly by a lethargic tone and bare minimum filmmaking techniques.  On paper, this film is unique and good for both laughs and scares but, in reality and in execution, the film is bland and lifeless.  This is a product that should have stood out and commanded attention but, instead, just looked like one of the many generic titles you see that fill up the $5 bin at your local Wal-Mart.

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