They say “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I respectfully disagree with this statement. The cover is the first impression a person sees with any art form. You have to show the consumer something that will get them to pick up that book or press that play button, otherwise they will move on.ClownTown is a low budget horror film about a group of friends that are stranded in a deserted town and being picked off one by one by psychotic, murderous clowns. A simple concept, sure, but simplicity can work sometimes. After all, Halloween is about a killer that stalks babysitters on Halloween night, and that has become a horror classic.Just from the title alone, I knew this movie was going to be painful to get through. That title, like the cover of a book, is easily one of the dumbest titles I’ve heard. While it’s accurate, it comes off like a rejected episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
The movie starts off with a pretty straight homage to Halloween. It starts with the murder of a babysitter for a family whose last name is Strode. What bothered me most about this was the fact that every shot is stagnate – no movement at all. There is one short tracking shot down a hallway, and that’s it. There is little music, no tension, horrible dialogue and even worse effects for the murder; but hey, at least there are boobs.The movie doesn’t get any better. The four protagonists, who are boring, annoying and have the acting ability of a middle school play, are forced into this town because, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, they forgot a cell phone. The only reason they notice the phone is gone is because they needed the GPS, even though they previously stated that they have basically no signal in southern Ohio.When night falls, the terror finally starts, or so I would of thought. After several fake out jump scares, you get your first look at a clown… sort of. These shots are out of focus and are framed so far in the background that they look like children compared to our “heroes”.
Eventually they get scared, they run, they hide. The clowns do what every killer or monster does in these things; they never fully investigate an obvious hiding spot. They run again, hide again, wash, rinse and repeat. The foursome are rescued by an old man who conveniently can give us an explanation, but not before one of the girls gets grabbed and taken away.He explains the town, the clowns, but still vague enough because we still have 40 minutes remaining. There are more jump scares, more running, more hiding, wash, rinse, repeat. Are you seeing a pattern here?
The soundtrack was one thing of note I can say I liked, however the budget did not allow them more than this one song as there is nothing else musically offered. A film like this needs tension, there needs to be a build and a release. When the victim is hiding and the killer is nearby by, the music will add to the scene and will put the viewer on edge and then you pop off with the scare getting what every horror movie strives for, the scream.
I somehow managed through this barely tolerable, student film level movie. I do understand how difficult it is to make a movie. It’s even harder to make a good one. A movie like this however could have been at least B-movie quality. It took itself too seriously for the material and could not deliver.