For such a unique premise and concept, it’s surprising how unremarkable “Clown” ends up being, in the end. Despite its best efforts, “Clown” feels like a short film that perhaps should have stayed a short film, as most of its narrative feels spread out to fit a hundred minutes. And I don’t know how they’ll pull off a sequel, if the final scene is any indication. “Clown” probably watches a lot better as a short film, but it breezes through the premise in the first thirty minutes and stops being interesting by the end of the first hour. Kent is an average dad who finds out the clown he had booked for his son’s birthday has cancelled. Anxious to keep his promise of a clown, Kent goes rummaging through his basement and finds a clown suit locked in a mysterious chest.
After the party goes off without a hitch, Kent is surprised to learn that the costume he put on simply won’t come off. And it’s not a matter of an ill fitted costume and old fabric, either. The wig he wore and clown nose are also bound to his skin, and he soon begins to grow more and more frustrated at the inexplicable turn of events. While trying to get the costume off, Kent learns who owned the costume previously, and begins to uncover an unusual back story behind it, and why the costume may have already taken hold of him. “Clown” tries to be a mix of a mystery and a splatter horror comedy, taking detours in both narratives time and time again, resulting in a fairly uneven movie.
Kent scrambles to figure out what is going on with his costume, all the while fighting an insatiable hunger that only seems to calm when he sees small children. “Clown” is a pretty stale horror movie that garners a neat back story and concept. I really wanted to learn more about the origin of the costume, and the lore that Jon Watts builds. “Clown” jumps in to its premise so quickly we never get to learn enough about Kent or what kind of relationship he has with his family. So when we meet him, he’s just some hapless victim who forgot to throw away a mysterious chest when he and his family moved in. When we jump in to the horror, a lot of the gore feels just downright mean spirited, especially when children become the primary targets. The movie almost pegs one child victim as having had it coming to him the whole time, when it really just felt cruel and pointless.
“Clown” is a messy and clumsy horror dark comedy that feels spread thin, and is overall a pretty underwhelming entry in the killer clown sub-genre. The Blu-Ray release from Anchor Bay comes with a Digital copy for consumers, as well as one featurette about the creation of “Clown” and how horror director Eli Roth took an interest in it and ended up producing the feature length film.