Before I get into the actual review for this movie, I want to give you a little back story. Some four years ago, a group of horror fans put together a trailer for a fake movie called "Clown" and posted it online. It told the tale of a supposed man who finds a clown suit and wears it for his son's birthday but can't take it off, and after a while begins to change into a horrible clown creature. The trailer looked decent enough, at least to be an independent film, that it gathered a following of fans who eagerly awaited its release. Oddly enough, the trailer cited Eli Roth as the film's creator (without his permission to use his name) and this sparked inquiries from fans, which of course led Roth to view the trailer himself. View the original fan-made trailer below:
Then, in an unusual twist that no one could see coming, Eli Roth announced that he would be in fact funding the "Clown" movie as its producer and using the creators of the original trailer to make the film. The resulting combination of this horror team was hinted at when the actual trailer for the movie was released. View the actual "Clown" trailer below:
What was the end result? Well, to be quite honest it was almost a great horror movie. Almost. Going into this movie I really, really wanted to like it. Actually, I wanted to love it. I mean, with promises of being the scariest clown since Pennywise and a name like Eli Roth attached, it really had a reputation to live up to. Unfortunately, this movie is mainly hype and relies on the cliche fear of clowns that everyone claims to have but really don't. If not for Eli Roth and the unusual circumstances for which the movie was made, I probably wouldn't have given this movie a second of my time. Honestly, do you know how many clown horror movies are out there? More than there needs to be. It's a mundane, tired form of horror that needs to be put to rest for good. This is just my opinion of the sub-genre and it should be noted that I was slighted by this opinion going into the movie, which is why I will be reviewing this just from a horror standpoint and not from the "fear of clowns" bandwagon that everyone loves to claim.
I know Eli Roth was only the producer and not the director, but I feel if he had more creative control over this movie then it might have turned out at least a little better. Considering the budget behind the special effects alone, you would think there would be at least a little money set aside for some decent actors. I don't mind the guy that played Kent, he was actually pretty decent, but his wife and son and friends are all just so bland and paper thin and lifeless. Strangely enough, Peter Stormare (The Big Lebowski, Constantine, Armageddon) shows up briefly to explain the story behind the clown costume, but he doesn't play as big of a role as you think. I mean, he really only winds up getting hurt and arrested and then we never see him again. Such a shame.
To be honest, I expected more than just a guy turning into an evil clown and hiding from society until the end of the movie. I expected him to wreak havoc on the city, or at the very least more than just a playground. He hides out for most of the movie in his house and one of his listing homes, except for the end of the movie when he terrorizes an indoor playground and supposedly eats some kids. You never actually see him eating the children on screen, but it is assumed. If this wasn't an origin story and instead started off with him already being a killer clown, the movie might have been more enthralling than it was. Unfortunately, it takes forever for him to finally embrace his transformation and when he does, he is killed off almost just as quickly. If more time was spent showing the action and horror aspects instead of unnecessary build-up, I strongly believe this might have turned out to be a decent horror movie.
We get a glimpse of what the final transformation looks like when Kent's wife is looking at old footage from when the costume was worn by another man years ago, and let me tell you, it is badass. This thing looks like a mix between the Violator from Spawn and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. It is nasty, mean, and incredibly terrifying, but again, it winds up just being another wasted opportunity. The few glimpses we get from the old footage is all we're shown as Kent is killed before he takes on his final transformation. Instead, we get a weird, squinty-eyed thing that looks more amusing than scary. I don't know if it was just the lack of funding (yeah right) or lack of creative writing, but they really had a missed opportunity there. I can imagine what it would have been like seeing that fully transformed clown monster running all over the place causing chaos, but alas, it is only an empty fantasy.
Whether you enjoy horror movies or just enjoy Eli Roth movies, I would still recommend giving this movie a watch. Sure, it's not everything the hype builds it up to be, but honestly, what clown movie is? Just don't expect it to be some terrifying, horrific masterpiece.
2 out of 4.
It's okay for a boring Friday night, but don't expect Hostel-level horror.
Cheers and goodnight.