This creepy clown is no laughing matter!

by Nav Qateel

On the day of his son Jack’s birthday, realtor and family man Kent (Andy Powers), finds an old, antique clown suit in an old trunk in the attic. Kent decides to surprise his son by dressing up as a clown at Jack’s birthday party. All goes well until later that night Kent tries to remove the suit and makeup, only to discover that no part of the costume will come off. The wig, makeup and suit have mysteriously become a permanent part of his body. The big red nose was the only part of the costume that was successfully removed, only to be eaten by the family mutt. This leads to a most unfortunate side-effect for the dog.

A man named Karlsson (Peter Stormare) tracks Kent down and explains that the clown suit is cursed, and the only way to stop Kent from morphing into a horrific monster is by decapitation. But Kent, who’s now developing a taste for young human flesh, has other plans.

Clown began life in 2010 as a fake trailer created by Jon Watts and Christopher D. Ford, which you can watch here. Eli Roth decided to run with the idea and the end result is this fairly entertaining horror that, according to some, is unsure of just what genre it wants to be identified with.

While Clown tips its hat to drama, and even gives a knowing nod and wink to its twisted humor, there’s no mistaking the fact that Clown is more horror than anything else.

Directed by
Jon Watts
Andy Powers, Peter Stormare, Laura Allen
US Release Date
Nav’s Grade: B-

I personally don’t have a problem with a film that embraces its ambiguous genre class, and I certainly don’t feel the need label every film I see as being one specific genre or another. I’m more than happy to call Clown a horror and be done with it.

Andy Powers plays father and husband Kent, whose metamorphosis is the highlight of the film. The last time I saw Powers perform was in Steven Spielberg’s brilliant mini-series Taken, back in 2002. Here, Andy plays a father whose son worships him and whose wife loves him very much. He’s a great provider for his family, but everything changes as soon as Kent wears the cursed clown suit.

Karlsson (Stormare) has a diary that’s packed full of information on the history of the clown suit and about these evil clowns that have been known to people through the ages. They have a horrific, savage backstory, with only two known ways to stop these killer clowns once awakened. One involves ritual child cannibalism and sacrifice. The other involves removing the clown’s head from its shoulders. But given the supernatural strength and rapid healing ability, killing one of these clowns is far from simple. At one point before Kent is too far gone, he puts a gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. Other than putting a temporary hole in the back of his head, no lasting harm comes to him.

The offbeat Peter Stormare is ideal in his role as the clown’s nemesis Karlsson, and the character felt like it was written just with the actor in mind. Jack is played by Christian Distefano, a young talented actor who really committed himself to his character. Laura Allen puts on a decent performance as concerned mother and wife Meg. Allen’s ancillary role is elevated thanks to the actress putting on a strong display of talent, particularly during the final act.

Director Jon Watts’ Clown is certainly a competent effort, put together on what one assumes was a modest budget. The makeup department have done a good job with both Kent’s and Eli Roth’s killer clowns. Not that we catch more than a glimpse of Roth’s monster. The tech aspects are basically fine, and anyone who loves a creepy clown will not be disappointed. While the film may be lacking gore, something the desensitized fans of today may find difficult to reconcile, it makes it up in other ways. It may not be a perfect film but it’s a film worth going out of your way to see.