Clowntergeist (2017) REVIEW
A surprisingly fun entry in the ever-growing killer clown horror subgenre.
So this is the second horror film review of mine in a row that involves killer clowns. Can’t figure out why. Must be something in the air. Or the new It movie coming out next month. Yeah, that might have something to do with it.
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, because Clowntergeist is a fun movie. It’s also, mercifully, only 80 minutes long. Which isn’t to say it’s a bad movie, or at least it’s not any worse than you’d expect. But when you’re making a demonic killer clown movie, the best runtime strategy is to get in and get out before the gimmick overstays its welcome. And that’s what writer-director Aaron Mirtes does. Mercifully.
The plot is about as simple as the runtime suggests. A bunch of red balloons appear in a victim’s house, one of which has a very specific time written on it in sharpie. This is the exact time, to the minute, when the demonic clown at the heart of Clowntergeist will visit you and destroy you in a rather brutal manner. Maybe there’s a bit more to it. I wasn’t paying too much attention to every part of the mythology. Didn’t seem much point in doing that. But that’s about the crux of it. Emma (Brittany Belland) is the clown’s main target, although as you might suspect, several side characters meet their weird demise throughout the movie.
The film’s tone is probably best described as faux-serious. It’s played straight, but tongue-in-cheek. Really, though, this was the best way to go. Only a fool would try to take this idea totally seriously. And I guess you could do a full-on comedy, but that has the potential to get annoying really quick. Mirtes knows we just want to see some weird clown shit, so that’s what he gives us. Keep it simple. Get in, get out. That’s a formula for success in any evil clown endeavours you might choose to pursue now or in the future.
The acting is okay. The interactions between Emma and her best friend Heather (Monica Baker) aren’t totally cringe-worthy and occasionally, sometimes accidentally, charming.
The effects are good. The gore can actually get pretty disgusting at times. Mirtes doesn’t go for cartoon kills, in keeping with the faux-serious tone. The visuals, specifically the color choices don’t disappoint, either. We get a lot of cotton candy pinkish-reds and circus tent blues. The character design on the clown…well, it wasn’t great. When he finally emerges from the shadows in the final act, he loses just about all of his scare factor. He kind of looks like an old bald hippie in clown makeup who’s a bit wobbly from too much LSD.
So, the classic question: What’s the demonic clown’s motivation? Well, as you can probably imagine, the reason for his rampage is stupid, but I guess you’ve got to have some way of explaining everything. Right? I guess. If you took a survey, my guess is that most people wouldn’t give a shit why the clown is pissed off at teenage girls. Anyway, one motivation is as good as the next if you want to see weird shit and plenty of gore, two things which Clowntergeist definitely delivers.
Clowntergeist will be available on-demand on September 12th.