June 17, 2016

DVD Review: Clown (2015)

*This is our review of Clown from March of last year. We're reposting it because it's finally out in the U.S.
(aka The Little Short Film That Could.)
Release Date: June 17th.
Country: USA/Canada.
Rating: R.
Written by: Jon Watts.
Directed by: Christopher D. Ford and Jon Watts.
Starring: Andy Powers, Laura Allen, and Peter Stormare.

While most people seem to find clowns creepy to one extent or another, there are actually a lot of folks out there who are deathly afraid of them. Like us. *After surviving the bizarre and terrifying "We're never going in the woods behind our house again!" incident when we were 12, we've been reasonably afraid of clowns; especially when they try to get us to crawl into a drain pipe to drink some Mad Dog 20/20 and have a shirtless tickle fight. "Mr. Jingles" didn't get us that day, but he's haunted our dreams ever since...

Anyhow, having just watched IT  (review HERE), we thought that it might be fun to see if the Eli Roth-produced Clown could fill us with that same sense of terrifying unease... which it kinda did, albeit in an entirely different way.

A loving father going out of his way to dress up as a clown for his kid's birthday is a sweet notion, especially when he knows it will mean the world to that kid. Conversely, it's a creepy notion when that same father finds the clown outfit while sifting through a bunch of old clothes in someone else's basement (attic?), because you just don't know where that stuff has been.

After donning the outfit he found in the trunk, Kent uses it to play Dummo the Clown, and give his son the birthday that he deserves. Then he tries to take the costume off, and can't. Embarrassed at having to wear the getup while taking his son to school, and then to work, Kent even goes so far as to try and cut it off with a Sawzall, but to no avail. His wife eventually helps him to get the nose off, but he ends up bleeding like a sieve in the process.

Realizing that he's in some serious trouble, Kent then decides to track down the previous owner of the clown suit, which leads him to Peter Stormare, who explains to him that the costume is actually made from the skin of an ancient Demon. This Demon, called The Cloyne, eats kids, which is apparently why Kent has been so hungry since putting the suit on. Once Kent understands what is happening to him, Peter Stormare tries to behead him, but he escapes and goes into hiding.

From here on out, it's a battle of wills between Kent and the Demon, which can really only end with Kent eating a bunch of kids to appease the monster inside of him. Far be it from us to spoil what happens next, but suffice it to say that we'll never look at a ball pit in the same way again.

For something that started out as a fake trailer and then became a feature-length movie, Clown is pretty impressive effort. It may not have pushed the boundaries as far as we thought a movie produced by Eli Roth would, but it certainly had enough dark and disturbing content to appease us, at least for the most part.

Clown does a good job at creating and maintaining an effective feeling of dread throughout, even during its darkly funny moments. The idea of a guy putting on a demon-infused clown suit and not being able to take it off because it's become a part of him, is a truly terrifying concept... especially when it leads to him killing and eating children.

The last 15 minutes of the movie were pretty effective, and had us a bit unnerved. 

When I sit down to watch a Horror movie called Clown, I want a movie that is about a killer clown, not a movie that spends 75% of its runtime showing us a guy turning into a killer clown. Some of the "pre-clown" bits were really good, but every time this movie got going, it slowed down again to remind us that Kent was still a man who was fighting against the Demon inside of him, and it just killed the momentum.

Clown would have been much better served by going all out with the clown carnage, and never looking back.

If you're going to have the balls to make a movie about a clown that kills kids, at least go all out with it, and leave me horrified. I'm not necessarily saying that seeing kids killed on-screen in a movie is the apex of entertainment or anything, but in the case of Clown, that exact sort of terrible imagery is supposed to be a part of the payoff.

There's a fair amount of blood & gore in Clown, but most of the kills happen off-screen. We do get lots of blood spatter though, and even a decapitation or two. The part with the dog was pretty great.

Clown is a dry county, sex & nudity-wise.

No one likes clowns. Also, Peter Stormare is still awesome.

Clown will no doubt terrify anyone who genuinely fears clowns, although those people probably wouldn't be watching it to begin with. For the average Horror fan though, Clown will most likely prove to be a mixed bag of great ideas and plodding executing. This Eli Roth-produced effort is definitely worthy of a watch, just don't expect it to be as shocking as Hostel or anything.


Clown is available now on VOD.


Laura Allen doesn't clown around when it comes to looking good.


  1. Are you seriously giving one of the best horror movies of the past year (and one of the best clown movies ever) a 3/5 just because it didn't have enough kids getting killed gorily on camera? Last I checked, a kid got his fingers bitten off, another kid got killed by a circular saw, another kid got eaten in his living room, and a few other kids got eaten in a ballpen. (Since that's your thing...)

    Fact is, this delivered EXACTLY what was promised by the trailer, and I can't imagine a horror fan not enjoying this immensely. Maybe 3/5 is accurate if you're judging this alongside The Godfather, but this is a 5/5 in horrorland. That mediocre rating isn't really an accurate reflection of the fact that most horror fans will really love this movie.

    1. Exactly! Thank you for writing my feelings for me. These guys don't deserve to critique anything, because they don't know what story telling is about. When you see a movie, you are seeing a story, you are being told the beginning, middle and end. The story shows how hard the father tried to fight against a very strong demon. That struggle showed just how strong the demon was. Would you be scared of a demon that was easy to kill? No. Next, this isn't a slasher film, to say it's not that great because he should of killed more ( after he already killed a decent amount), is just immature and idiotic. You sound like your 14. What makes something truly scary is bringing things as close to reality as you can so that you fear it could actually happen. Not just some killer running around, killing people. Been there, done that......and yes, I do believe that a demon clown could be hiding out somewhere....waiting.

  2. It's 5/5 to you, not to us. There are actually reviewers out there who were far harsher on it than we were, so maybe avoid reading those reviews or you might lose your mind. Lots of people seem to love it, lots of people seem to think it's alright, some people hate it. That's just how it goes.

    We don't rate things based on what most horror fans will or won't think, we base them on what we think, both from an entertainment standpoint, and from the standpoint of actual quality: script, pacing, visuals, atmsphere, etc... We liked Clown, but no it wasn't an 5/5 (A+) movie. It entertained us, but it wasn't perfect.

    3/5 is a decent score, above average even. We rated it as such because the movie dragged, and felt like it was a fake trailer that was stretched into a full-length movie... which it was. We thought it was good, not great. That's not a bad thing.

  3. Yeah, I think giving this 3/5 is generous. I mean, I was expectiting to see him turn into a killer clown and go ALL the way to hell and back. And taking those mentionned kids with him in all gory glory. But no, always remind us that he's still fighting. After he had eaten several kids? Dumb move! Am I'm supposed to pity him? No, give me the bad-ass killer clown. I would have been fine with him eating his own kid, to be precise. That's the horror fan I am.

  4. What a dumb review. Wah, I want kids eaten constantly!

    Dummies like this reviewer is why horror isn't taken seriously, and is actively looked down on. As long as there's some gore and tits, you're happy, anything less than that, you complain.

  5. Say what you will about subjectivity, but the fact is, this review is basically useless for a horror fan. With 3 stars, THC is indicating that Clown is on par with crap like The Other Side of the Door or Ouija.

    In fairness, THC does acknowledge that horror fans will probably like this, but the overall 3-star rating doesn't seem like a sober or consistent assessment. Not to mention, the complaints in the review aren't even particularly accurate. The build-up is extremely fast: the guy gets trapped in the suit like 2 minutes into the movie, and he kills his first kid about 20 minutes later. He freaking bites his fingers off! And he DOES become a full-on demon and DOES go on a kid-eating rampage.

    Bottom line: this review was not accurate.

  6. this was OK, I enjoyed the transformation and the story behind it... the clown is creepy, yes, but what is creepier is that the costume clings and can't be taken off - that must be horrible ://

  7. "Clown" is not going to go down as one of the "greats" in the pantheon of horror cinema, but I found it to be gleefully twisted fun -- one of the better offerings the genre has delivered in recent years.