The perfect dad dons on a clown costume which he discovers only to find that he is unable to take if off with terrible consequences.
Relative unknown TV actor Andy Powers is excellent as the lovable dad who becomes a killer clown. With lots of welcomed grim exposition, it builds a horrifying background to the clown legend and costume. It’s explained convincingly by Karlsson played by Peter Stormare, the brother of the deceased previous owner of the costume. Eerie from the outset Jon Watts and Christopher D. Fordit’s screenplay is played as a straight bloody horror thriller with touch of dark humour. Never before has a children’s ball pool or the tunnels of a play area been so scary.
What sounds like a B film with its outrageous crazy concept actually works in this modest budget production that has Eli Roth on board as producer. It goes from one gloomy odd set up to the next giving it a dream like surreal quality and it gets graphic as Kent tries to remove his costume, goes on a killing spree and begins to regurgitate body parts.
Despite Roth’s involvement it’s very much director Jon Watts film who offers creepy, slicing, gore, demons and clown creatures with some interesting shots, even a bird’s eye view car crash feels different from the standard affair put on screen. All the cast are effective right down to the child actors and Laura Allen is great as Meg, the protective mother fighting for survival.
Taking a leaf from IT’s tale and channeling King’s Pennywise the clown it also has the psychological element of Magic and is reminiscent of in places of the recent Stitches and American Horror Story Freak Show to name a few. That said, it stands on its own two feet with plenty of original ideas. To Watt’s and the production team’s credit the effects are outstanding, including and not limited to – dismemberment, amputation and Kent becoming a child eating clown.
Clown is a fast paced solid grim possession horror with a splatter/slasher element that never takes it eye off the story. It’s probably the definitive clown horror and naturally those suffering from coulrophobia should avoid at all costs.