Thursday, 20 August 2020

Movie Review: CLOWNFACE (2019)

 


OK, so I'm a bit biased when it comes to this slasher movie. I helped on set for a day, my band Lesbian Bed Death (well, the line-up at the time) wrote and recorded a song for the soundtrack (check out the music video here), and I'm also in it briefly. That's a few things ticked off my bucket list right there!

Clownface is a slasher movie directed by Alex Bourne and produced by Mark Adams of Hellbound Media. It was first shown at some film festivals last year, and has finally been picked up by a distribution company and was released in North America on the 18th August 2020. Hopefully a release date for the rest of the world will follow shortly.

Despite being filmed on a micro-budget, the talented team behind Clownface have made something that not only looks amazing, but feels like a real movie. I don't mean that in a patronising way, but we've all seen low budget Horror films that are complete shit, and the market is saturated with them. They look cheap, the acting is dire, and the storyline is usually disjointed, badly paced and unrewarding. Fortunately, Clownface doesn't suffer from any of those things, avoiding the usual amateur pitfalls like a skilful ballerina, coming out the other end as a compelling and professional beast of a Horror movie.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The story revolves around a masked killer who kills people for no clear reason and appears to have a thing for abducting women. One thing I love about this movie is that we never find much out about our villain. Back stories often ruin characters like this, and crazed killers are usually scarier when we don't know their motives and the story doesn't humanise them. Let's be honest here. Most of us watch movies like this to root for the bad guy as he hacks and chops his way through the cast!

Anyway, Clownface attacks a young couple, kills the guy and takes his girlfriend, Zoe, back to his lair. Most of the movie is set a year after this, and we see how their friends are coping with Zoe's disappearance. There's also a young man in town who is onto the urban legend and is hunting the man behind the murders. Anyway, Clownface also re-appears on the local scene around the same time and goes on a killing spree. I'm not sure what he was up to for the last twelve months, other than playing captor, but he's back on the rampage. That's the gist of the story without giving too much away, and I wouldn't want it any more complicated than that. Slashers thrive in simplicity.

Clownface the movie seems to be quite heavily influenced by Halloween. The main-man's mask made of human skin is blatently a nod to Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the scenes in the lair with his prisoner have an air of Silence of the Lambs about them. This movie certainly draws from all of the right places without coming across as a 'rip-off', which is an achievement in itself.

The character Clownface looks ace. This is important, because if you want to create an iconic slasher, he needs to look badass, and he certainly does. The kills are pretty good too. There is a great face-removal, and an axe-to-the-head that 'hits the spot', amongst others. On a tiny budget, there will always be limitations, but there's enough gore here to satisfy most blood-thirsty Horror fans.

When all is considered, Clownface is a solid slasher film with plenty of enjoyable moments, and has given us a new icon to dress up as at Halloween. I think it's important to emphasise that, considering the micro-budget, the overall quality of this film is a massive achievement and everyone involved should be very proud. All we need now is some big company like Blumhouse to bankroll a sequel!


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