I had the kind of day today that can only be summed up as “wretched”, with an extra emphasis on the last syllable. Flat tires, mountains of work, jammed up freeways, and a myriad of other things. To top it off, I got a sample of a new perfume that smelled good at first whiff but as the day wore on, I realized it made me smell like a stunning combination of roses soaked in formaldehyde, a scent which undoubtedly made me charm everyone that came upon my path.
So, I trudged home fully expecting to eviscerate this one. I was in a bad mood, dammit! Awful filmmakers beware! I watched this when and went, “Ehhh.”
Plus, upon reflection, I’m having the kind of dessert that is liquid and comes in a highball glass. Impaired judgment? I think not. I prefer to think of it as kindness distilled by Russians.
Let’s get the good out of the way first. Whenever I receive movies now that I know nothing about, have received no promotion and generally look like the kind of movies I could pick up in the Wal-Mart $5 bin, I assume that they will turn out like Ax ‘Em or Manos. Shitty sound quality, cinematically drab, and a story that would make a nun utter barely intelligible streams of profanity. Fear of Clowns is not so. You can hear it. You can see it rather well. The story’s alright. At this point, my perspective is so altered I consider that good.
Lynn is an artist with a paralyzing fear of clowns. Oddly enough, Lynn seems to overcome that drastic phobia by painting clowns. A rough and tumble divorce proceeding certainly isn’t helping her mixed up life, especially when you add in a wealthy suitor who Lynn isn’t quite sure about. Things get worse when a clown that looks suspiciously like the one in her paintings begins to stalk her.
Actually, stalk isn’t really the right word. “Lurk” is more the word I’m searching for. In fact, the clown does so much lurking, it’s irritating. Every time he shows up, you can count on two things: “Shivers the Clown” hiding in the shadows, being all Lurky McLurkerson, and Shivers moving as slow as a herd of turtles.
In fact, one does have to wonder how Shivers manages not to get caught in his pursuit of Lynn. He’s not an exceptionally bright psychotic clown, that’s for sure. He lurks in broad daylight! He lurks in public spaces easily viewed by lots of people! He lurks in a box with a fox on a train in the rain!
Actually, combined with the lurkerdom, Shivers really isn’t too frightening. I say this as someone who is creeped out by clowns. Not scared, just creeped out. Shivers has an odd assortment of Halloween cast-off clothing and too-small bib that looks lovingly made by Mom. His sharp weapon of choice makes me think that Shivers may visit the Renaissance Faire every weekend (a battle axe, really). And a buff clown? Really?! It is such a disconnect.
Meet Lynn. If you don’t care about Lynn now, trust me – you won’t care after an hour or so of her story. Lynn looks very studious throughout the movie in the way that she seems to really have to concentrate to tell her brain to move her facial muscles, open her mouth and utilize her vocal cords…and then to breathe again.
Meet the wealthy suitor dude. Don’t ask me to remember his name! What, you have standards for me? STANDARDS? Well, I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember. I could barely remember the plot of the movie. Either way, he’s the bestest part. Why? He’s cute. Don’t agree? That’s okay, my bottle of Stoli agrees with me.
If ever you wanted a summation of a movie, this is it right here. In this scene, the clown arduously and time-consumingly reaches out toward Lynn, attempting to merely even brush her shoulder only to have her walk away, agonizing seconds later. Fear of Clowns is an entire film comprised of waiting, waiting for the stalker clown to nail his prey, of waiting for a too-long death scene to end, of waiting for the final payoff and being hopelessly bored.
The final showdown occurs in a movie theater, where Lynn *magically* blinds Shivers with a projection light and the police rush into save the day. Of course, since someone has seen Friday the 13th a few too many times, someone couldn’t resist throwing the zinger in at the end of Shivers escaping to potentially strike again.
If you’re looking for big sins in this one, there’s not many. Sure, the technical aspects in some parts leave much to be desired, but when you’ve just gotten finished watching Begotten, or Gigli, or Manos: The Hands of Fate, it’s shrug-worthy. In fact, the only major sin is that it’s not entertaining, merely boring.
Fear of Clowns is predictable and not very amusing, but not awful enough to make you want to gouge out your own eyes; maybe it’s just enough to down a shot and grimace and then promise yourself you won’t drunkenly Netflix movies again.