Movie Review - Clown
Coulrophobia is the term for people who have a fear of clowns. And if you are one of those people, I highly suggest you avoid this movie entirely. Based on a faux movie trailer created by writer Christopher D. Ford and writer-director Jon Watts, Clown is their insanely disturbing 2015 feature film. It is a masterpiece of absurdity and it is absolutely one of the most depraved and unsettling films of the year. Needless to say, I loved every second of it.
Kent is a real estate agent, as well as a loving husband and father. For his son, Jack's birthday he throws a party and invites a clown to entertain the children. But when the clown doesn't show up to the party, his son is disappointed. In what seems like a stroke of good luck, Kent happens upon an old clown costume in one of the houses he is overseeing and decides to surprise his son and his friends. Kent is a hit at the party, and after a long day, he falls asleep on the couch, still in costume. But when he wakes the next morning, he finds that he can't seem to get it off. The wig, costume and red-nose all seem as if they're attached to him, and then he notices the hunger... but it isn't until he meets a man named Karlsson that he learns the truth about his horrific transformation.
The film plays out much like David Cronenberg's The Fly, in that the film makers not only play on our fear of clowns, but also the madness that comes when one's body begins to change into something hideous. I have to applaud lead actor Andy Powers for his harrowing portrayal of a man's transformation into monster, his commitment to the horror of the situation made the film feel realistic, despite its' over the top insanity. The rest of the cast does a sensational job of keeping the film grounded, with strong performances by Laura Allen as Kent's wife Meg and the always amazing Peter Stormare as Karlsson. It is no easy task to keep a concept that borders on the ridiculous from ever feeling as such, and that not only applies to the acting, but the writing and directing as well.
I applaud the co-creator's ballsy attitude, as the faux trailer 'stunt' they pulled ended up getting the attention of genre heavyweight Eli Roth, who produced the film. And that bold attitude shows in their work. This movie could have gone south at any moment, becoming overly corny and falling into the same traps as countless other horror films, but they maintain the tension until the films shocking conclusion. The idea behind the film reminds me a bit of an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and although it's a much different take on the concept, it's no-less of an acid-trippy psychedelic circus freak-out than anything you can find on Adult Swim. And I certainly can't go without mentioning the amazing job done by the entire makeup and practical effects department for making Kent's transformation extremely effective on such a visceral level. It is truly unnerving.
Clown is not yet available in the U.S. until later this year. We will keep you posted with updates. In the meantime, if you don't suffer from a fear of clowns, watch the trailer. Highly recommended.
- Leo Francis