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Clown (2014)

Directed by Jon Watts Written by Chrsitopher D. Ford & Jon Watts

The subject of clowns has always seemed a pretty divided line; you either like ’em just fine, or consider them to be the Antichrist in disguise. With myself somewhere right down the middle. Because despite anyone’s opinion, it’s not necessarily a broad spectrum as to approach can be taken when filming around the topic. Maybe its that they’re always happy (that alone freaks me out). Or that when their down, they’re down. Though we have our fair share of examples throughout time. Most notoriously (and rightly so) is Pennywise played by the great Tim Curry; with honorable mentions sure and plenty depending on what best suited your fancy.

So the slightest excitement ensued after hearing of an Eli Roth film entitled Clown, up for release with the poster for such preemptively banned in Italy. Though as it would turn out, I was misled by the public (once again) as Roth’s contribution came as an effect of being sought out by the writers of the now feature length film. Christopher D. Ford and Jon Watts had fashioned a mock trailer exhibiting their general idea wanted for the film, even going so far as to name Roth Director. Yet ultimately they obtained their goal by having their “ballsy” move rewarded as Eli intended to make something along the lines of The Fly mixed into their script and pre-production began in 2012.

The story itself revolves around the McCoy’s. As Meg (Laura Allen) and Kent (Andy Powers) decided to throw their son Jack (Christian Distefano) a clown inspired birthday party, they were met with the difficult task of replacing the entertainment at the last minute. Fate stepping in to insure that while touching up a few things around the house attempting to sell, Kent would come across an old chest filled with what appeared a perfect solution. Ultimately a success for the party though he would find out the next day just how difficult the suit proved in attempting to take off (having fell asleep in such). A rumble from within soon heard after that would prove much harder to satisfy than thought.

Desperation sinks in as he tries to locate the owner of the trunk. Insteadyou coming across Dr. Martin Karlsson (Peter Stormare) whose late brother had in fact been the previous owner; having passed away fairly recent. Full of claims of it actually being the skin and hair of a demon, he informs of the true history behind clowns. Originally of Nordic origin, they took to the mountains where the conditions ensured their blistering nose and skin stayed white as snow. Needing to feed on the lives of five children, each meant to represent a month of Winter (pertaining solely to Norway). The only advice given is to either give in to the suits demands or suffer decapitation. Well, when put in those terms! Either way left in quite the predicament as his transformation seemed rapid with his wife going to great lengths to ensure the suit wouldn’t completely take over.

Although the film doesn’t necessarily end abruptly or leave you without any questions, it just escalated rather quickly once things were established. Though not original in it’s context of needing to feed off of children, I liked that they rerouted the history of the clown to be further demented than we might original recall. Which is not to say that there weren’t some inconsistencies. Yes, while cleaning up a house does he conveniently find the suit that would ultimately ruin his life. But I’d rather attribute that to fate. Where I had the most questions came in lieu of when he started “obtaining” the children. Because I suppose the rules weren’t exactly laid out there left some wiggle room. But he only bit off the first child’s finger-which couldn’t have possibly counted as a whole. Then towards the end once arriving to Chuck E. Cheese (great marketing idea guys) there appears to be some confusion on whether he was eating children all throughout the jungle gym area or perhaps one drawn out murder. Either way, I don’t think they should have limited him to such a small number. Other than that, my biggest concern lay with Laura Allen and her lack of conviction throughout. Albeit hard for me to gather whether it was an issue with timing or the fact that whatever emotion she was portraying at the time seemed drastically misguided-she killed a lot of the momentum for myself.

The silver lining however being the fantastic portrayal displayed by Andy Powers. The makeup (specifically towards the end) bared a nice transition, considering its low budget feel throughout. Because I wasn’t sure what to even expect going into such or that I’d become invested into the story. My curiosity taking over the more I saw the costume conform to his skin and the changes he endured. My favorite being how his blood became rainbow colored, which they displayed in two different scenes. A hilariously small gesture that I appreciated as the viewer. Though they did try to throw in subtle indications of a rough past with his wife, it wasn’t necessarily needed to make his plight anymore drastic. Though hesitant to inform Kent about her newly discovered pregnancy, the fact that things appeared to be looking up with a baby on the way created enough of a ripple to make you feel for the characters.