Reviews

Review: ClownTown

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In the fifty-six years since Psycho was released to an unsuspecting public, theater-goers have borne witness to slashers of every type. From psycho killers dressed like their mothers to psycho killers dressed up like Ronald Reagan to psycho killers in luchadore masks, there are very few outfits left for the psycho killer to choose from that haven’t already been done (in many cases, to death!).

That being said, when I saw “abandoned town” and “violent psychopaths dressed as clowns” in the e-mail gauging interest in reviewing ClownTown, I jumped at the opportunity. Sure, greasepaint and rubber noses aren’t exactly unheard of in the slasher genre, but you know what they say:

Send in the clowns. 

ClownTown
Director: Tom Nagel
Rated: Not Rated
Release Date: September 30, 2016 

The plot to ClownTown is a tail as old as time: four friends on their way to a country music concert in the area of southern Ohio with especially bad cell phone reception find themselves stranded in Clinton, a ghost town with a tragic history. As if their taste in music and dead vehicle weren’t bad enough, a gang of psychopathic clowns are out to make their stay in Clinton a memorable one.
Like most slasher films, there’s not much to say about the cast of ClownTown beyond the slashers themselves. Our protagonists are bland simulacrums with paper-thin development and the few denizens of Clinton that aren’t clowns are there to deliver exposition. The clowns themselves, for the most part, are actually pretty frightening, “Crowbar” and “Baseball Bat” in particular.

ClownTown doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before. All the tropes are there: no cell service, dead car, desolate town, random thunderstorm that has no bearing on the story, and generally poor decision-making by the protagonists. There are a few genuinely tense scenes, particularly the one on top of the warehouse, but it is generally a paint-by-numbers slasher film.

That’s not to say its wholly unenjoyable, however. If you like slasher films and can settle for the generic victims and borderline-tedious dialogue, there are some decent kills in this film. Nothing as creative as what Freddy or Jason bring to the table (which is a shame, considering we’re dealing with clowns), but for what it is, it’s not bad. 

While less is typically more with slasher films, ClownTown left me wanting for more explanation. While we don’t need to see Jason’s base of operations to understand that he’s an unstoppable force of nature, maybe we need just a few more details on why and how an entire town has not been able to put a stop to a small handful of clowns and their reign of terror.

With that said, based on the ending and my wanting for more backstory, sign me up for a sequel. ClownTowns, maybe?