Clowns are one of the constants of the horror genre. Zombies, vampires, ghosts, serial murderers. Clowns just slot right in there with what have become sub-genres of their own. We’ve had films like Killer Klowns from Outer Space, It and others, and we’ve also had general horror films use clowns to add scares to their films, often paranormal, for decades, such as Poltergeist. Some people just really get creeped out about the laughing, red-nosed and wild-haired circus performers. While I’m not “scared” by them, I am a fan of clowns in horror. I think, if used correctly, they can be really effective and creepy, and there is something unnerving about a painted up character hiding behind face-paint, colourful hair and a bulbous nose, smiling wildly. Clown, made in 2014 but released recently to some audiences, is directed by Jon Watts (his debut non-fan-film).
We meet Kent (Andy Powers), a father and husband who attempts to save his young sons’ birthday party by dressing as a clown in an outfit he finds in a house he’s attempting to sell. All seems normal at first until Kent begins to notice that the clown suit he is wearing isn’t quite so normal. Unable to remove it, Kent’s life, the life of his family, and the lives of others, are effected as we see the horror unfold. Kent attempts to seek help about the suit and how to remove it, and finds a man named Karlsson, played by Peter Stormare, who has some ideas. Can Kent save himself, his family, and other unlucky folks in his path, before he goes way too far?
It’s a fresh idea, in my view. I’ve seen a good amount of clown-horror films, and I haven’t personally seen one about a cursed clown-suit that the wearer is unable to remove. It is almost like the suit it devouring Kent, piece-by-piece, and taking him over. It has elements of Body Snatchers and slasher films in general, and does what it does in a very fun way.
The performances from everyone involved were much better than I expected. Powers does a good job in the role of Kent, a man struggling to keep himself alive in more ways than one. Laura Allen (Awake) also does a very good job as Kent’s wife Meg. I also really enjoyed Stormare (8MM) as Karlsson, but then I do tend to enjoy Peter Stormare generally, especially when he is allowed to go a little bat-shit crazy with a character. Watts does really deserve commending considering this is his first real feature. There are unsettling parts, there are a few funny bits, and some good gore mixed in for good measure. Overall, this was just a pretty damn enjoyable horror movie, and those aren’t particularly easy to find in the modern day.
3.75 out of 5