It is Jack McCoy's (Christian Distefano) birthday and the clown that has been booked for the party cancelled at the last minute. This is a disaster because Jack is one those kids who doesn't seem to be scared of clowns, however disaster is averted as his dad, Kent (Andy Powers), finds a clown suit in a house he is trying to sell and arrives at the party dressed as a clown. Next morning, however, he can't remove the suit and he soon learns the deadly and demonic history behind the clown costume.
Back in 2010 Clown started its life as a mock trailer that claimed that the director of Cabin Fever and Hostel, Eli Roth, was the film's producer. Roth was so impressed by this he took up producing duties and had a starring role (as the clown) in the film Clown. Clown eventually got a release in Italy in 2014 and featured at the Glasgow Frightfest in 2015. Directing his first feature film, Jon Watts' (who also contributed to the story) film owes much to the body horror films of Canadian film director David Cronenberg, particularly The Fly. Unlike The Fly, however, we don't get much time with our protagonist before he dons the clown costumes and begins to transform.
The opening act of Clown is an interesting and wince worthy one that includes cutting of wrists and vomiting of teeth and other assortments of foreign objects. Undoubtedly the elements of body horror of course owe somewhat of a debt to Eli Roth's Cabin Fever and of course the works of Cronenberg. These elements are done with a delicious sense of mischievous fun particularly when Kane uses various dangerous equipment (such as an electric saw) to remove the irremovable clown costume.
The opening act of Clown is a good one and director Watts seems very comfortable here but Clown does suffer from some pacing issues, namely the second act which feels more of a drag than the two acts surrounding it, perhaps indicating that the film could have done with a shorter run time (incidentally the second act focuses more on Laura Allen's Meg McCoy). However, the pace is soon picked up in a superb set piece in a wacky warehouse play pen where the demon crawls around looking for a child to feed upon.
Jon Watts fails to maintain a consistent pace and he also relies too much on tedious false scares (which are different to jump scares) to create the frights despite the fact that the body horror on show was more than enough to create a sense of horror. However, to say that Watts did a bad job is unfair, he did a good job and showed his talent with some well directed set pieces but the success of his film owes much to the strong performance of Andy Powers who is brilliant in the lead role.