ClownTown (2016)

clowntownIf you think Rob Zombie is the only director releasing a schlocky survival horror film about evil clowns, you’d be mistaken. Here comes Tom Nagel’s “ClownTown,” a film a group of hapless travelers that wander in to an abandoned town ruled over by psychotic clowns that want to kill them a lot. After an unusual and tacked on prologue that copies John Carpenter’s “Halloween” almost shamelessly, we enter in to the actual tale of a group of friends heading to a concert. When they’re accidentally run off the road in a seemingly abandoned town, they and two other travelers find themselves being victimized and terrorized by psychotic and murderous clowns.

These clowns are silent, and slow moving, with their own motives for murdering and terrorizing these friends. And they have their reasons. They make no sense, but they have their reasons. “ClownTown” and its premise don’t actually progress until twenty minutes in to the movie where the writer treads water for as long as they can before finally giving us the villains. Considering it’s very much an apparent independent film made on a shoestring budget, “ClownTown” asks way too much of its audience to consider suspension of disbelief. There isn’t a ton of rationalization for why we had to suffer through the awkward and pointless prologue, but the explanation for why a town was consumed by a clown cult makes zero sense in the end. These clowns apparently are a family of eight, and were helped by one woman and a town deputy.

So how did they completely take over and murder everyone in a town that seems to have inhabited perhaps thousands? What of the hospitals, police officers, and general business in the town? Did people just move out? Did they relocate? Why wasn’t anyone called in to investigate the killing sprees involving psychotic clowns? Are we really supposed to believe one officer covered up a mass string of murders? And why do the clowns want this town in the first place? Why can’t they travel beyond the town limits? How do they recruit their clown posse? In either case, “ClownTown” is pretty much an on the nose horror thriller with clowns stalking people and mutilating them, packed with a climax that just stops rather than resolve. If you’re looking for a better alternative to “31” this year, you might have to look elsewhere as “ClownTown” goes through the motions than attempt a unique horror experience.

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