Finally getting a home media release in the US comes the film sure to be the fabric of nightmares for people who suffer from Coulrophobia, in the appropriately and creatively titled Clown. Produced by the always polarizing Eli Roth and coming from director Jon Watts in his feature film debut, Clown started as a fake trailer created by Watts & co-writer Christopher Ford for Eli Roth. Roth himself, never one to shy away from an interesting project, decided to help produce and flesh out the premise to feature length. Thankfully, this team was able to put enough meat into the concept to create a fun little genre film with lots of depravity and some genuine creepiness throughout.
The Movie (3.5/5)
Part body horror, part possession film and part slasher, Clown tells the story of Kent McCoy, a loving father who doesn’t want to disappoint his son on his birthday after the clown scheduled for the party is double booked. Kent, who works as a real estate agent, conveniently happens upon an ancient looking clown suit in a trunk located in one of his properties. After a successful show at the birthday party for his son and friends, things take a turn for the bizarre as Kent discovers he cannot remove the clown costume no matter what method he attempts. It’s a fun story overall that takes a drastically dark turn as Kent tries to go about his life trapped in the clown suit while dealing with a strange new rumbling in his stomach whenever he sees children.
Clown, compared to my other favorite recent clown horror movie, Stitches, takes itself deadly serious while being no less violent and depraved. There is some fun black comedy scattered throughout, but the overall film has a more dramatic tone than expected from this type of film, complete with cinematography that creates some wonderfully chilling moments. Clown is easily a film that will get under the skin of many viewers. Between the fear of clown themselves and the horrible things happening on screen, it is a film that is sure to shock and creep out even some of the more jaded viewers.
Clown is acted well with a great performance from Andy Powers as he undergoes his gruesome transformation, his wife Meg (played by Laura Allen) who the movie actually shifts the focal points towards about halfway through as she unravels the mystery of whats going on with her husband, and Peter Stormare as Karlsson filling the trope of the guy who knows just what is going on. Clown also has some wonderful practical make-up effects, CGI that’s used to enhance instead of replace, and a great design on the costume that plays well with origins once revealed while having a classic Victorian style look instead of a more modern “Bozo the Clown” type look.
Clown stumbles a bit during the middle act as the focus shifts from Kent’s transformation to his wife and her struggle to save her husband and unravel just what is happening to him. Thankfully, an exciting third act with the most fun and violent use of a Chuckee Cheese Playplace used in film pick the pace of the film back up and lead to a great finale. While Clown is far from a perfect film and not really breaking any new ground, there is a lot to enjoy here for genre fans and it is definitely one you’ll want to judge yourself. It is a gruesome experience that will have some especially tough to watch scenes if you’re a fan of kids, and it does a solid job in executing it’s concept, leading to one of the better entries in the clown horror sub-genre.
A movie about clowns should be colorful, unfortunately Clown is quite the opposite. While the picture quality of the film is very solid overall with a crisp detailed image, it is in service of a film that is extremely muted in its color tone. A few set pieces later in the film allow the colors to pop off the screen a bit more compared to the gray and brown tones that fill the majority of the screen. This may just be a personal preference as there is still a lot to enjoy here on the screen in terms of cinematography but it all looks very drab which I suppose is more fitting for the ancient style clown costume the film centers around.
Boasting DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Clown sounds great with a whimsical yet creepy score and some fun squishy sound effects. Volume levels stayed consistent throughout and this a great horror flick to turn down the lights and crank up the sound to a nice rumble.
Coming in a standard Blu-ray case with a slipcover, insert sleeve, and disc all sporting the same art, Clown leaves much to be desired in the packaging department for what could have been a much more fun and creative release. The special feature (yes, just one) provided does nothing to get Clown back on it’s big goofy feet in this area, giving us a brief 6 minute featurette that jumps around quickly through different aspects of making the film. There’s a lot of craft in this movie that I would of loved to see more detail from the director himself; instead, we get Eli Roth talking about producing and a small behind the scenes look at one effects shot.
1080p High Definition Widescreen 2.40:1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
1 Blu-ray Disc
1 Digital HD Code
While not the most exciting Blu-ray release overall Clown presents a great genre film for fans to sink their teeth into. Clown executes it’s ideas well and in a fun yet violent way, with some great make-up and creature effects that gore hounds are sure to enjoy. You won’t find too much new in Clown, but the substance it does have is well thought out and crafted enough to satisfy. Clown also takes child murder to new heights so this this is a perfect date night movie! At a sub $15 dollar price point you really can’t go wrong with a perfect midnight style movie for horror fans!
You can grab your copy from Amazon right now!