Killer clowns are a thing of nightmares for a lot of people. Stephen King’s IT, Captain Spaulding and that creepy clown from American Horror Story Freak Show are just a few of the many terrifying clowns that have plagued audiences throughout the years, proving a scary staple of the horror genre. A horror film about a clown suit that’s actually the skin of a demon, therefore, sounds like the perfect recipe for a terrifying tale, doesn’t it?
Clown has an interesting premise, one that could very easily be incredibly creepy if done right. A doting father steps in for the clown that has just pulled out of his sons birthday party to avoid disappointment. Randomly finding an old clown suit in a chained-up box in the basement of a house he is working in, Kent (Andy Powers) dresses up and heads home, not realising the clown suit is actually the skin of a child-eating demon that has been locked away safely for years.
The film draws upon the ancient tales of clowns as creatures that steal and eat children throughout the winter, a scary premise and one that’s sure to put a chill down anyone’s spine. Clowns are creepy, regardless of whether you’re a true coulrophobic or not and clowns in horror films, especially those that devour children, are pretty terrifying.
Clown is a reasonable horror film that disappointingly doesn’t quite meet its potential. It promises big, scary things with its clever premise and creepy costume and make-up design but fails to deliver any more than a few really icky moments and a lot of fake blood. The film could be so much creepier; a dad slowly transforming into a child eating demon whilst wearing a freaky clown suit has the potential to be completely terrifying and there are so many things the film could’ve done better. The whole thing feels like just the beginning and it never really delves into its potential creepiness. When it finally starts to get good it’s over far too quickly with a very disappointing ending.
Somewhat too creepy and serious to be a comedy, but too disappointing to really be considered a proper horror, Clown is the kind of film that could be a good laugh to watch with friends on Halloween when you’re thirteen years old, but probably isn’t recommended for adults looking for real, quality horror.
Credit where it’s due there are some truly gross moments and some toe-curling tension as well, mainly at the start of the film as we watch the desperate dad try to free himself of the suit and end up pulling the skin off his nose and slicing his wrist open. There are some really tense and creepy moments, and some pretty good make-up and gore effects too, but most of that is lost in the other meandering and boring gumpf that goes along with it. Admirably director Jon Watts, who previously hadn’t done much in the way of horror before Clown, somehow manages to keep things serious and not once does the film come across as a joke like so many mediocre horror films do. It’s the kind of premise that could easily be stupid and laughable, yet despite its flaws Watts manages to avoid that easy pitfall.
All in all Clown is not a mindblowing horror film and won’t make hardened horror fans shit themselves in fear. It’s creepy, yes, and probably quite traumatising for those suffering from genuine coulrophobia and it does have its merits but really it’s just another mediocre horror film that doesn’t do much to excite any horror fanatic. It might be a good one for teenagers this Halloween and it is available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, but for those looking for real scares this one might be one to miss.
Films and Things rating 3.5 out of 5