I remember seeing the trailer for this sometime early last year, and I instantly fell in love with it. A demonic clown suit that possesses whoever wears it, and turns them into a child-eating monster? It sounds like the poster child for cheesiness, but based on the trailer I was more than willing to give it a shot. You have one of my generation’s well known gore-hounds Eli Roth backing it, so what could possibly go wrong? Almost 4 years after its initial development, Clown finally got a limited release in theaters June 17th, 2016. I even had to drive half an hour to see it So, was it worth the 4 year wait? Well…
Yes…and no. It is so deliciously twisted that I’m willing to say it’s one of the best movies to introduce someone to the body horror genre, if you don’t want to go with one of the many classics from the 80’s and 90’s. Also working in its favor is writers Jon Watts and Christopher D. Ford. I have nothing but respect for these guys. Why? They uploaded a fake trailer all the way back in 2010, and had the balls to say it was produced by Roth, even though he had no attachment to the movie at the time. I don’t care what you say, you can’t deny the genius of that. And it freaking worked because Roth is an official a producer of the film. As far as the actual movie is concerned, it’s shot brilliantly. As horrifying as it is, you never officially see the children get eaten on camera. All we see is is blood splatter and body parts flying. But…it works. It’s very close to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre: you never see the actual killing on screen, and it makes your brain work overtime to try and fit the pieces together. What you don’t see is way more terrifying than what you actually see.
Now, for the not so good parts. The biggest thing I noticed was that it feels like the writers had two visions, and picked the wrong times to showcase either one. You can see without a doubt when they wanted to go for bloody murder and mayhem, and then a more psychological approach. The problem? They had no idea how to blend the two seamlessly. You go from child body parts flinging and blood everywhere, to the actors trying to show off their emotional sides. It’s like your best friend hitting you in the face with a brick, and then immediately giving you a hug to try and comfort you. It’s confusing, and you’re going to get mad by the drastic change in a matter of minutes.
Another theme in the movie is that everyone accepts everything without any sort of argument or initial disbelief. I can’t speak for everyone but if I put on a clown suit, wig, and nose that adhered to my skin overnight and I couldn’t get it off? Pretty sure panic would set in, along with flailing around trying to get that shit off of me, and a probable mental breakdown upon learning I’m basically being possessed by a demon. Kent (Andy Powers), spends all of 3-5 minutes trying to get everything off, then decides to just wear makeup, dye his hair, and wear a trench coat. When he finally discovers what horror awaits him once the clown fully takes over, he just kind of shrugs and accepts it. And that sense of “oopsie and oh well” plagues ever single character for the whole movie, even when Kent has gone full demon and eats a kid in a freaking ball pit at a Chuck E. Cheese knockoff.
I still have to give it 3/5. It has issues that could have easily been avoided, but it has this charisma about it that manages to still draw you in. The acting is very questionable, but I think it gets to a point where just accept it as the cheese filled mess that it is. There’s another scene where Kent breaks a guys arm, bone pokes through the skin, and the worst reaction is someone telling him to stop being a grumpy asshole. As dumb as that is, you have to laugh at it. The special makeup effects alone are enough to give it a chance. But I have to say the main reason why I like it because it attempted to do something different. We’re in a sea of remakes and sequels, and the horror genre is kind of flat-lining. Jon Watts and Christopher D. Ford didn’t make a perfect movie, but they weren’t afraid to step out of the box and give the horror genre a much needed jolt. And for that, I commend them.