Saturday, March 20, 2021

Movie Reviews: Clown

directed by Jon Watts
This movie came out in 2014. Clown was Watts' directorial debut. It's low budget but does its best with what it has. Clown is by turns equally inventive and formulaic. I guess the viewer can decide for himself or herself which description best fits this horror movie. 
Now that I think about it I also wonder if Watts might be using the supernatural evil described in this film as a metaphor for an all too common real life evil. 
This movie really doesn't pull many punches in terms of graphic violence so if that is not your thing then this movie is most definitely not something you should be watching. Most of the special effects appear to have been done without the noticeable use of CGI. That choice gave the film a sense of reality that intensified the emotional impact of the violence. Horror movie viewers know the basic horror movie survival rules. 
If your special rider invites you to a weekend getaway at his/her antiquated isolated family manor you should respectfully decline the invite and end the relationship. If you find an ornate old metal box engraved with ancient silver runes, don't open that box. If a weird old man/woman moves into the crumbling manse next door and neighborhood pets go missing, call the police instead of doing your own investigation.

If you receive an unexpected package, return it to sender. If you only see someone at night, be suspicious. If this person also hates crucifixes and won't enter your house without an explicit invitation, don't give that invitation. If you learn that your residence was the previous home of an executed serial killer, move. Follow those rules and a few others to stay alive and avoid unnecessary unpleasantness. Unfortunately no one told realtor Kent McCoy (Andy Powers) of these simple directives.
Kent is married to dental assistant Meg (Laura Allen). The couple have a young son Jack (Christian DiStefano). Jack is having a birthday party. The clown who was scheduled to perform at Jack's birthday party cancelled at the last minute. Meg can't find anyone else to perform. She calls hubby in a panic. Kent isn't the type of man to go to the clown's business agency and throw someone a beating. Besides it's too late for that. Kent is on his way home from a property he's trying to sell. Fortunately he finds a clown suit in the house's basement. The suit is vintage and doesn't smell too great but time is tight. Kent puts on the clown suit, fake nose, wig and rushes home. 
Kent saves the day by putting on a show for his son and the other children. Meg is suitably impressed. In fact, Meg wants to share some gratitude with Kent just as soon as he takes the suit off. But Kent will have to take a rain check on the offered marital bliss. Kent is tired and falls asleep on the couch.
The next morning Kent finds that he can't remove the clown suit, wig, or fake nose, no matter how hard he tries. Even the whiteface makeup is difficult to get off. Kent is also very hungry. Very. When Kent employs tools or machines in an attempt to remove the suit the tools or machines break. Meg uses her dental implements to remove the fake nose but only at the cost of taking off the tip of Kent's nose. And you best believe that hurt!
A now bandaged Kent understandably decides that he might be better off without Meg's help. Kent searches for and finds the suit's previous owner, Herbert Karlsson (Peter Stomare in a good performance) who hysterically warns Kent not to touch the suit. When Herbert learns that Kent is wearing the suit and can't get it off, Herbert asks to meet. He has a story to tell Kent, one which Kent wouldn't have believed until yesterday. 
Clown was very effective as a body horror flick. It is briefly able to juggle disgust and sympathy before tipping over completely into gore in the second half, which is of course when people start doing some really really stupid things. Kids make dumb decisions because they don't know any better. Adults don't have that excuse. The second half was predictable. I liked the special effects. The lighting was often lacking. Again, this is only a movie for horror fans with strong stomachs.
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