I can feel myself changing!
It’s not often that I write a review for a film which has only just come out, infact, I think only once have I wrote about a film that has been at the cinema within the last month and that was the excellent Black Sea, a film that made it into my top ten films of 2014. Could “Clown” continue that trend?
I’m not going to lie, I had no intention of seeing this film, none whatsoever, but what convinced me was when Eli Roth described it as being similar to the classic 1986 horror “The Fly”and that’s a pretty bold claim from a director that has been exceptionally hit and miss throughout his career, leaning very much to the latter. The Fly is arguably my favourite horror film and to even start comparing a new film to that is almost certainly going to lead any film to a comparison that it’s not even going to stand of chance of winning.
I tend not to find horror films scary anyway, infact I think I have actually only ever seen ONE horror film that scared me, Psycho 2, and I was probably only about 12 at the time. As I mentioned in a previous review horror movies treat fans like idiots these days and for once, instead of me moaning about horror films and how crap they are, I am going to leave a video just below from my favourite Youtube based film reviewer, Chris Stuckmann, as he delves into the problem with horror movies today.
I’ve been subscribed to Chris for around a year now and his videos inspired me to start writing reviews, I wouldn’t be here writing a review for a film that I had no intention of watching otherwise. Chris has a unique way of reviewing films and that’s why I enjoy watching it so much, and his hilariousity reviews are just insanely funny. Once you’ve finished with my review, go and check out Chris’ channel.
Anyway, onto the review….
When Meg (Allen) receives a phone call to confirm that the clown for her son’s birthday party won’t be able to make it, she phones her husband Kent (Powers) to see what they can do. Whilst searching for something to entertain the kids, Kent finds an old clown outfit and decides to wear that. After an exhausting day he falls asleep with the clown suit still on.
Several hours later he awakens to find that he can no longer remove the suit, wig or nose, all of which appear to have embedded themselves into his skin. They do eventually get the nose off, whilst taking half of Kent’s nose with it, but soon Kent starts displaying odd behaviour before going into hiding.
Confused, Meg seeks out Karlsson (Stormare), a man who managed to somehow escape the clown suit. Karlsson reveals that it is not actually a clown costume, but rather the skin and hair of an ancient demon that possesses and transforms the body of whomever is wearing it. Meanwhile, Kent’s continued transformation includes an appetite for young children.
I’m going to start off by referencing something that I mentioned in the opening section and that is Eli Roth comparing this film to “The Fly”. Roth said about his film “It’s new territory to make this a version of The Fly, where this guy can feel himself changing, blacking out only to find blood all over his clown suit. You’re sympathetic toward a monster until the monster actually takes over.”
That is about as far from accurate as you can get because the film is nothing like “The Fly”. You can’t compare the character of Kent to the character of Seth Brundle and say that you feel the same about them. There is a fair chunk of “The Fly” where you get to know Seth Brundle before he even begins his transforming. The horror in “The Fly” works because you can do a decent comparison between pre-Fly Seth and BrundleFly, you can tell how desperate he truly gets to be human again, including being willing to risk the life and happiness of his girlfriend, and more his change in attitude towards animals (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the Monkey-Cat deleted scene).
Kent is nothing like that. The first time you meet Kent is when he is finding the suit and that comes in the first few minutes. There is no build to his character, he’s just there and in a clown suit. You don’t really get to know anything about him, his relationship with his family or even get the chance to compare him pre-suit to when he starts changing. The only real positive character trait that you can give him is that he does like to make sure that his son has a good birthday, but other than that there is virtually no development of his character. He actually really bland. I found it hard to connect with him as a person.
He certainly isn’t alone in that though, none of the characters are particularly interesting and you never really feel sympathy for any of his family as he’s chasing them as neither Meg or Jack are particularly well acted, and the only actor who has even some semblance of credibility to his acting was Stormare, who had an exceptionally rare outing as a protagonist. Stormare is a very typecast actor and I can’t recall ever see him not playA an antagonist before, so it was nice to see some versatility.
In terms of the horror, there isn’t really a lot going on to be honest. Right up until the final scene, that isn’t a lot going on that can even be deemed particularly unsettling as the full transformation has taken over Kent’s body. There is one scene that I did like and that’s when Kent is driving along and whilst being attacked, his feet grow to the point where his shoes burst open and his index finger grows to unnatural proportions (although they are really short again seemingly immediately following), that is a bit unnerving but doesn’t move beyond that.
There is a scene set to within an tube system that you see at activity centres for kids but the horror feels more forced than anything as you know that something is in there and inevitably the kid will find it and die. There’s no genuine tension there and I’m not going to lie, the only horror they’ve seemingly tried to do is try and make those that are terrified by clowns terrified by the very thought of being forcible transformed into one, but it’s a flawed concept due that most people who are afraid of clowns, aren’t actively going to watch a film about clowns.
It’d be like being afraid of the dark and then destroy everything that gives off light in your house, or being afraid of heights and then going on a rollercoaster without the safety contraptions done up. If you’re afraid of clowns then chances are that you’d be scared whilst watching this, but if you’re not then you won’t be because there is just no horror there for the vast majority.
You know what? I’ve been writing this review on and off for two days now and in that time I haven’t thought of a single positive to say about it other than one or two fleeting moments, such as the scene in the car. I would say it was crap, but it is disappointing.
A horror movie without scares is something that I could overlook, but Eli Roth comparing it to The Fly was outright farcical. I could forgive and overlook that this isn’t a particularly good horror movie had it not been for him mentioning The Fly, but he had to do it. I’ve seen a lot of horror films that were crap, but none of them had the nerve to compare them to any genuine horror movie.
Even if Eli hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be giving this film a positive review. Based on that it’s supposed to be a horror film, there’s no actual horror involved unless you’re afraid of clowns, but if you’re afraid of clowns you are exceedingly unlikely to watch this in the first place. There’s little character development, the acting is bland and worst of all, they do a poor job of convincing me that I should really give a shit that this guy is going through this because everything feels forced.