"Clown" (2014) A Fantastic B-Grade Film
The Great Clown Panic in 2016
This film was released in August 2016 and shortly after a strange series of events involving clown sightings began in the US where police received reports that people dressed creepy looking clowns were hiding in the woods and scaring children.
Advertising for the release of what is now known as the blockbuster movie remake of 'IT' (2017) had already begun and some thought that it was some kind of public relations stunt. Due to Facebook posting mothers and concerned citizens in the US, copy cats who obviously thought this rash of clowns appearing everywhere was funny caused the epidemic to spread and there were sightings in Australia and the UK as well.
Although originally released to Italian audiences in 2014, it has only seen the light of day since 2016 but by then Clown was probably lost in the sea of clown-in-a-drain chatter and a social media frenzy about clown sightings.
Squarely a B-Grade effort due to less than special effects, what this film lacks in finesse it makes up for in solid acting and a great story. It doesn't get the attention it deserves. The tale is unique, gripping and has a modern edge to it. Where its counterpart lives in a fantasy realm in the 80's, this one brings the concept into modern-day.
What's it About?
This movie features an everyday dad and his everyday family who are having an everyday birthday party for their everyday little boy. The hired clown that was supposed to arrive to feature at the party canceled the last moment.
Dad is in real estate and hears of his sons soon to be massive let down while sitting in a house he needs to sell. A thud erupts from the wooden crate behind him and leads him to find a clown suit. What else can he do, but adorn said clown suit and be the hero of the day, making everyone happy, especially his son.
When he tries to take the suit off, he discovers something is seriously amiss. No one else seems to find his predicament a priority, and panic sets in. Kent knows that his situation is not a case of him having unknowingly used adhesive to apply the red clown nose that won't come off. Kent is smarter than that— but who will help him, when no-one else can?
Trailer - Clown
Are You Afraid of Clowns?
Quick Film Info
Writer and Director: Jon Watts and Christopher Ford co-wrote this film and have worked together before on Robot & Frank (2012), Cop Car (2015) and Spider-Man:Homecoming (2017). Jon Watts took the reins with the directing.
Date of Release: Italian audiences saw this in 2014 and USA in August 2016.
Genre: Horror with a dash of folk-lore.
Budget: $1.5 million.
Box Office: $2.1 million.
My Thoughts on Clown
What if the clown from Steven King's IT lived in modern times? The two clowns are from different universes but if the clown called IT updated his look and didn't live in a small town with open drains and instead lived in a regional area with white picket fences, I think this movie could definitely be a modern twist on a classic Steven King.
The two clowns have a completely different way of being able to go about their business. IT has a Jeepers Creepers (2001) model to it where he eats kids every 27 years and the latter every 23 years. The Clown in this movie just needs 5 souls and he will be released from the costume. If the two clowns were ever to meet, I'm certain they would be best friends.
This movie is not widely heard of, which can probably be blamed on the budget it had, but it did very well with what it was given to work with. Where IT had a budget of $35 million, Clown had just $1.5 so there are no voracious teeth-filled mouths enveloping small children to swallow them up, this uses off scene gestures where you know something has happened but didn't see it all.
An example of this would be where a whole scene uses a black-light room within a kids Chuck E. Cheese playroom. The intention was probably to make the clown look scarier but I felt this scene took away from the flow the film was going with. Kent the clown is originally placed in everyday places like a car, a neighbour's house and a hotel which made him seem much more gruesome than when under neon black-light. Having him in the playroom to begin with though, well that is a talking point when it comes to this movie.
I didn't care for the character Herbert Karlsson (played by Peter Stormare) as I felt his character lacked depth. He filled in the blanks as far as the story behind the costume but never explained the contraptions he had set up, nor why he wasn't in touch with his brother.
Other scenes, including a fight scene that went on far too long were unnecessary filler and gave more shallowness to the character of Herbert, a guy who has a whole book on the history of the suit itself and knows of the great power of the impending transformation but chose to come after him with weapons which were insufficient.
Herbert's brother was the keeper of the suit they had so desperately and unsuccessfully tried to destroy and I found this flaw in the story cumbersome. One would think that something so dangerous would at least require a check-in once in a while so that it was never again in the wrong hands.
The film's flaws are few though, and the rest of the film is unnervingly great. It's the perfect prescription for writing a horror story where ordinary situations result in something no where close to ordinary.
Eli Roth who was one of the producers, has spoken of the films inspiration of how the changes to Kent happen. Changes occur like similar transformations in "The Fly" (1986). I think the sentiment for the Seth's character in the fly translates well to Kent's character in Clown. I did feel compassion for Kent even after he claimed his first victim. I did see the internal struggle of a man trying to remain who he was while battling the symptoms of a curse.
The camera doesn't let you forget that he was just an ordinary man who worked in real-estate, loves his kid Jack (played by Christian Distefano) and worked hard for his family. Sometimes scenes pan across his company's advertising posters adorned with Kent's face before he put on the clown suit like looking into a broken mirror.
I liked this movie, and I am glad it is on Netflix available for the masses. I always recommend it when people are looking for a good movie that they may not have seen.
I give Clown 4 plastic bag shoes out of 5.
Want More Horror Featuring Clowns? Try Some of These
- Killer Clowns From Outer Space (1988)
- Clowns (2014)
- Clownstrophobia (2009)
- It (1990 and 2017)
- Amusement (2008)
- Clownhouse (1989)
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