Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Laura Allen, Andy Powers & Peter Stormare
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
After the entertainment for his young son’s birthday fails to arrive, Clown finds loving father Kent (Andy Powers, In Her Shoes) donning a clown suit and makeup to perform. Unfortunately, over time the vintage costume and wig refuses to come off, simultaneously altering Kent’s personality into something demonic. With little hope for a cure, the once wholesome father finds himself in a circus of nightmares that places his family in dire straits. Laura Allen (The 4400) and Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street) co-star.
Conceived from a clever mock trailer deceivingly billing eventual Producer Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, The Green Inferno) as its helmer, Clown spotlights the fear-inducing carny figure under unique circumstances as a cobweb infested vintage costume serves as the carrier of evil for an unsuspecting father. Uniquely crafted, Jon Watts’ (Cop Car, Marvel Studios’ upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming) feature-length directorial debut wastes little time establishing the idyllic family life Kent and wife Meg (Allen) live as they celebrate the birthday of their son Jack (Christian Distefano, PAW Patrol) before peculiar events strike. Experiencing extreme difficulty in removing the clown nose and full body costume discovered in a mysterious traveling trunk, Kent grows frantic when even power tools fail to sever a single stitch. Developing a voracious hunger, the real estate agent in clown’s clothing finds answers in the costume’s previous owner Herbert Karlsson (Stormare) who reveals the sinister past of the clown through history and its insatiable appetite for children. Failing to fatally eliminate the demon’s carrier, Kent, progressively becoming more clown-like, evades death to feed while, Karlsson and Meg join forces to stop a big top reign of blood.
Shot quickly and cheaply, several years of domestic delays and increased buildup escalated the occasionally creepy feature to heights impossible to live up to. Presenting one of the better clown designs in recent memory with a grim pursuit of children through Chuck E. Cheese ball pits and unapologetically leaving gallons of prepubescent blood in the demon jester’s wake, Clown also adds a possessed dog in need of decapitation and rainbow spewing body liquid as Kent attempts to unsuccessfully take his life several times. Greatly suffering from severe pacing issues that jeopardizes the film’s initial suspense, Clown possesses genuine moments of eeriness yet, not nearly enough to leave a lasting impression.
Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Clown with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Maintaining a softer approach that keeps detail and otherwise more impactful colors mildly restrained, the digitally shot feature is decently presented and appears true to its intended palette. Although, black levels lack a deeper inkiness common in other modern features resulting in murkier presentations that are mediocre at best. Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, dialogue is greatly prioritized while, the film’s inclusions of heavy bass notes during intense moments of screams and other frights make the track a nice compliment to its onscreen theatrics. Containing only one supplement, Making Clown (6:24) is a fairly standard EPK with talking heads Eli Roth, Star Laura Allen, Cinematographer Matthew Santo and others discussing the film and their various contributions to it. In addition, a Digital HD Code has also been included.
Anticipated for far too long, Clown’s delayed release may have generated welcome buzz yet, its finished product, littered with pacing misfires and an otherwise interesting plot gone dull, diminishes the promise it once had. While jolts of creativity are contained within, Director Jon Watts has graduated to far better projects that display his talents to much greater effect. Given its long road to home video, special features are regrettably nominal while, Anchor Bay Entertainment’s presentation is pleasing enough.
Available August 23rd from Anchor Bay Entertainment, Clown can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.