“Clown”, which was this years secret supporter screening, wasn’t quite the triumphant goodbye of this years /slash Filmfestival that I hoped for, but it was solid – and thus probably quite a fitting conclusion of this years so-so festival.
The idea behind it actually was quite nice. Instead of “just” delivering another murderous clown, it’s rather some sort of demonic costume that takes possession of its wearer, refuses to be taken off again, and forces his victim to kill five children. That’s quite a dark concept, and the movie itself doesn’t skimp on grimness; however, there’s also a nice strand of very black humor throughout the movie that makes sure that things never get too bleak. Interestingly enough, my favorite part of “Clown” actually wasn’t Kent’s struggle, however, but rather the moral dilemma that his wife Meg faces later on, once the ground rules have been established and also accepted by everyone involved: Will she kill her husband, or rather provide him with the sacrifice that he needs in order to fulfill the curse? That part of the movie gripped me the most. However, I also quite enjoyed Kent’s increasingly desperate tries to get rid of the costume and/or the curse, and to protect his family as well as the children in his vicinity. The actors were all very good, especially Andy Powers as Kent, Laura Allen as his loving wife Meg, and Peter Stormare as Karlsson, who shares a troubled past with that costume. And I really liked that this movie didn’t quite end the way that I expected it to. Nevertheless, apart from a couple of scenes – like Meg’s before-mentioned dilemma – “Clown” unfortunately never really managed to grip me. Since I’m not coulrophobic, I also didn’t find the movie particularly frightening. And for some reason, the “body horror”-aspect – with Kent’s transformation – never really took off with me. Additionally, the movie takes a while to really get going, and the way how things were set into motion felt just a little forced and convoluted. And despite everything that goes on later, it wasn’t quite as tense and engrossing as I would have liked. So overall, while I felt sufficiently entertained while watching it, ultimately I’d argue that as a comedy it wasn’t quite funny, as a drama not quite touching and as a horror flick not quite scary enough. It’s definitely watchable, and a decent enough entry in the ever-growing list of clown-theme horror films, but it didn’t quite have me cheer with delight.