Clown (18) Home Ents Review

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Dir. Jon Watts, US, 2014, 96 mins

Cast: Andy Powers, Peter Stormare, Laura Allen

Stephen King’s It has a lot to answer for: some people still don’t like clowns. They think they’re scary with their wide-slit painted mouths, big red noses, clumsy prancings-about, white faces and flappy shoes.

Clown isn’t for these folks; but if you like the idea of almost seeing children actually being eaten, Clown will make you very happy indeed.

To underscore the point, this is a film that gets as near as doggone to actually showing children being eaten by a man whose skin is mottled and smeared and lesioned (not your usual clown getup in Clown). What’s not to like?

Produced by Eli Roth and written and directed by Jon The Fuzz Watts, Clown ticks several boxes with aplomb: high concept, psychologically credible characterisations (given the clown costume curse scenario), high production values, medium gore content.

It’s the story of loving dad Kent (Powers) who dons a clown costume to perform at his adorable munchkin’s birthday party – and then can’t get it off. There’s help: Kent’s concerned wife Meg (Allen) and the more disturbed and disturbing costumier Karlsson (Stormare). But sooner or later Kent will have to come to terms with the fact that he is turning into a child-eating demon: his tummy keeps rumbling to remind both him and us of this.

The horror in Clown develops less in relation to the disconcerting nature of masks and ritualized mucking about with car horns and pratfalls; it is more about skin diseases, the trials that addiction puts in the way of good digestion, perhaps even the difficulty of being a good father when you have niche tastes.

The gore does tend to be child-related but at no point is there any real sense of children in peril. Clown doesn’t feel distasteful or dangerous at any point: the gore is darkly comic; the more serious psychological issues facing Kent and Meg are well drawn and kept compartmentalized from the grand guignol excess.

There are three absolutely grand sequences: the attempted suicide that turns into a child killing; our tortured anti-hero stalking his prey in an indoor children’s tubed playground; the hunter becomes the hunted in an extraordinary UV-lit fairground. These three sequences alone make the film worth watching.

Review by Colin Dibben

Clown is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 02 March. Buy from Amazon

Colin Dibben

Author: Colin Dibben

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