In the film, CLOWNTOWN, 2 couples(Brad & Sarah and Mike & Jill) are on the way to a Country music concert in Columbus Ohio, and on their way, they make stop at a small town diner, before resuming their trip. It is when they hit the road again when Jill discovers that she has accidentally left her phone back at the diner. Instead of going back to retrieve the phone right away, the group decides to ring the number, to see if someone picks up. They do, and the man on the other end says that he will meet up with them to return the phone. However, he wants to meet them in the next town - the small town of Clinton. Clinton, was once a railing town, however, after a series of tragedies, such as a devastating train accident, as well as a few disappearances, Clinton now remains seemingly vacant. The group of friends aren't quite sure why the man asked them to meet him there, but they pay no mind to it, as they just simply want to get Jill's phone, and make the concert. Once they arrive, they find a lifeless, deserted town. They get out of the vehicle to roam the place, but find no sign of life. After no luck in finding the mysterious man that they were to meet, they return to their vehicle to continue on their way. Unfortunately, though, the car doesn't start. Now, stranded in this ghost town, the friends aren't sure way to turn next, as the make their way around town to look for help. Unfortunately, as they continue to wander about the town, it soon becomes apparent that that someone has lured them to this town, and that their car being tampered with is not just a coincidence. Although the town of Clinton Ohio appears to be empty, there are a few town residents that live deep within the shadows of the town. The are a family of maniacs with a distint fondness for clowns. Suddenly for the 4 friends, a forgotten phone, or car troubles becomes the least of their worries, as they find themselves in a game of cat and mouse with a group of deranged clowns.
When it comes to the subject of clowns, clowns appearing in Horror films is nothing new, In fact, in my, and many other's opinion, the character of "Pennywise", from Stephen King's IT, did it best. So, as I went into the Tom Nagel directed Slasher film, CLOWNTOWN, I hoped that they would have seized the opportunity to do something different when it comes to it's clowns. Unfortunately however, here not much has changed, as the clowns here are reserved for nothing more than stalking and killing helpless victima. The "stalk and kill", is the film's destination, and to get there, it uses a story, which unfortunately, uses several ideas, as well as plot points from other successful Horror films. When it comes to organility, CLOWNTOWN has none of its own to speak of, as every key moment in the film, is somehow derrived from something that we have already seen before. With this, the majority of the film plays like a pale imitation mashup of things. If you need evidence, the very first shot of the film features a mailbox with the last name "Strode" on it. I mean, how many more films are going to use "Strode" as a family name? It has been done to death, and at this point, so much so, that it goes beyond homage. To follow up on it, the film goes on to feature a kid dressed in clown garb at the beginning, who may, or may not be the killer of his babysitter.
After this, I was willing to give the film the benefit of doubt. But then we are presented with the film's primary plot. A truck full of people who are going to a concert, only to have their plans derailed. And oh yeah, one of them has an engagement ring, as he plans to pop question during the trip. Now, where have we seen this before? Oh, that's right, these events are an exact copy of some of the events which occur in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003). Not only this, the film is centered on a "family" of killers dressed as clowns. This element is not unlike any other CHAINSAW film, or countless others. I am one for homages, and I think it's cool to have them to honor predecessors. But, when you base your film mostly around the ideas of others, there isn't much left. The film had a little bit of something going with its explanation of how the empty town came to be, yet the film never capitalizes on it. The old man that the group runs into, "Stanley" explains that the disastrous train accident, as well as the disappearance of several, caused a panic among the residents of the town, and that the sudden emergence of a clan of clowns, was the final straw for most. During this explanation, they want us to see these clowns as dangerous, yet provide no support in this. We know nothing about these killers. Who are they, and how are they related? And best of all, why do they dress up as clowns to do their killing? These are questions left unanswered. It's as if someone just wanted to make a film which sees killer clowns kill a number of victims, and that's it. So all that they did, was to form a story around the most basic of Horror premises, while borrowing ideas from other films.
But I will give the film a little credit, and say that voiceless, emotionless approach to the clowns, and their portrayal is cool. And from a technical standpoint, for a film of it's budget, CLOWNTOWN is nicely presented in terms of directing and editing, etc. Also, I didn't feel as though the acting by the cast was as bad as expected. This could have been a film that is much more fun, unfortunately though, its biggest flaw is its own originality.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As I said above, the clowns featured in CLOWNTOWN look cool, and the best thing about the film, are the stalk and slash moments. However beyond that, the film is just the same old thing, in a less effective way than the films which inspired it