June 30, 2015

Movie Review: Stitches

There have been some great some great killer clown movies over the years. At the top of the pile has to be It, but then you have the likes of Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and perhaps Amusement, The Houses October Built, and even Killjoy (as uneven and low budget as the series is). Then you have your films with influential clown elements, like Poltergeist, Zombieland, and House of 1000 Corpses. Now we have a new contender on the battle for killer clown supremacy with Stitches. I doubt it will ever be able to climb to the top of the heap, but there is no denying the entertainment value and the effort put on display here.

As the movie opens, we meet our clown, Stitches (Ross Noble). He is dirty, grimy, and not all that funny. He heads off to perform at young Tom's birthday party. It does not really go all that well, the kids are, well, kids, and they mess with poor ole Stitches. One of the kids ties the clowns shoelaces together, inevitably he trips and falls. Unfortunately, when Stitches takes a tumble, winds up face down on a large kitchen knife. If you couldn't guess, this is not a good way to end a performance. Stitches is dead. Poor Tom is traumatized.

Stitches jumps ahead six years. Tom (Tommy Knight) is now a high schooler and suffering nightmares and anxiety relating to the clown he watched die in front of him as a kid. Well, it is also time for another birthday party. The parents are away so the kids must play! Little do these teens know but the expected night of drinking, revelry, and maybe some sexual escapades (if the nerdier members can get up the nerve), is going to turn bloody and deadly in a hurry.

It appears that good old Stitches was a member of a cult of clowns. This is where the movie really works hard. Apparently all clowns are members of this supernatural cult and part of the deal is that no performance goes unfinished. Do you see where this is going? Stitches rises from the grave, makes his way to Tom's and starts taking out the party kids one by one.

The tale is a simple one, where it succeeds is in its execution. It is not a movie with much of a budget, so it does look a little on the cheap side, but it is still pretty funny, a little bloody, and a lot of fun. They do a good job of giving us the clown cult to explain the resurrection and his reason for wanting to kill the kids. It then all comes down to watching Stitches does thing.

I really enjoyed Stitches. It makes some good use of practical effects, and flat out delivers. It isn't great, and I think that has a lot to do with the kids are a mostly dull lot just waiting to get killed off. Stitches, directed and co-written by Conor McMahon, is full of energy (despite the dull kids) and never stops moving. There are some inventive kills, and a killer that makes everything work with a quip, a gag, and a droll look. This is a fun movie to have a little fun with.


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