At the time of this writing, CLOWN should still be playing at the Osio for at least another day, but it's simultaneously available on demand if you can't get over there. It's been waiting long enough... CLOWN was filmed in 2013 and was based on an even older faux trailer (a la GRINDHOUSE) from Eli Roth, who signed on as 'presenter' of this sanctioned feature adaptation co-written by Christopher D. Ford and John Watts and directed by Watts (I still have not seen COP CAR).
Successful realtor Kent (Andy Powers) finds himself on the spot when his wife Meg (Laura Allen) informs him at practically the last minute that the clown he hired for the birthday party of his young son Jack (Christian DeStefano) is a no-show. As luck would have it, the property that Kent is prepping at the time just HAPPENS to house a trunk containing a full-on clown suit... so he dons it to become "Dummo the Clown" as the eleventh-hour delight for his son and his friends. Only later does he discover that absolutely none of the clown accoutrements (suit, wig, 'rubber' nose, white makeup) are removable. The resulting body horrors are played for queasy laughs in the early going, but when Kent is able to contact the closest living relative of the original 'owner' (a terrific Peter Stormare), he ultimately learns that he's donned the indestructible skin of a demon known as the "Cloyne." And the only way out (short of death by decapitation) will entail devouring no less than five children...
There's the nutshell, and you most likely already know if this film is for you. If clowns scare you, and if child-killing is one of your cinematic taboos (I suppose I should mention that there's also an animal involved), then CLOWN is off-limits unless you're prepared to take the whole thing as one monumentally sick joke. But if you're prepared to go that route, then the film acquits itself quite impressively. Full-bodied and convincing performances mesh with terrific practical effects courtesy of Alterian (there's just the bare minimum of CGI) to create a strong and efficient horror show.
Okay, there are a few holes and questions left over, and I wonder if some of them might not be the result of Weinstein-mandated editing (while no epic, CLOWN is considerably longer than the typical high-concept genre film even as it is). There's a detour involving Meg's discovery of an old and ominous video recording which seems incomplete, especially as the grisly details regarding the previous wearer's escape from the suit are concisely spelled out elsewhere in the film). One wonders where the hell police/security are when all hell breaks loose at a major downtown location. And yes, since the child-killing clown has become synonymous with Stephen King's IT (the movie CLOWN shies completely away from invoking the true-life horrors of John Wayne Gacy, it's worth pointing out), the climax leans a little too heavily into SHINING territory--the main difference being that the little boy isn't named "DAANNNNYYYYYYYY!!!!" None of that stops the movie from doing its job or prevents the willing viewer from savoring such bait as the bully you might actually WANT the clown to get or the perverse delight of the revelation of his ultimate hunting ground (which just made the news today as they announced a makeover, it's ALSO worth mentioning).
Take it or leave it. But if you can take it... take it.
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