Jon Watts, the mad man behind last year’s fantastic thriller Cop Car, will finally see the release of his indie horror movie here in the States. Clown has had an interesting road to say the least—it first started as a faux trailer before getting picked up by Eli Roth, who produced the feature film. And while the movie has been out in other countries for quite a while, it’s finally seeing the light of day in our neck of the woods. But was it worth the long wait? In it, a loving father finds a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it will not come off and his own personality changes in a horrific fashion.
I’m not really quite sure what I was expecting going into this movie, but I have to say that Clown is nothing like I thought it would be—it’s basically a monster movie disguised as a clown. And while the idea itself is pretty cool, it never really takes advantage of what makes that concept so damn creepy. What I mean by that is that it just skims over all of its most intriguing elements—this could have been a great story about transformation with a wickedly original take on the body-horror subgenre. Yet all we really got was what felt like a longer episode of Masters of Horror, which were largely hit or miss.
And that’s what my review is really going to focus on because it was by far my biggest issue with the film. Forget the fact that there are way too many convenient plot devices—it wouldn’t be that bad if he had just randomly found a haunted clown costume and put it on, but the fact that he happens to find it at the exact same time the clown he hired for his son’s birthday party cancels at the last minute is ridiculous (although, this is a movie about a haunted clown suit, so being ridiculous is kind of a given I suppose).
Where the film goes wrong, though, is that instead of focusing on a father being torn apart from his family by the soul of a demonic, child-eating clown, it becomes this mostly by-the-numbers monster movie that rushes over all of the things that initially made it so interesting to begin with. It just never reaches any further than its own premise, which was a huge disappointment.
The clown design is super fucking creepy and I loved the fact that he basically only targets little kids—such easy prey! So with that said, I do think that Clown hits all the typical horror movie notes relatively well, ultimately delivering something that most people will probably get a kick out of. But if you’re looking for something different that really takes advantage of a wicked concept, you won’t find it here.