Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
December 1st, 2013


Directed by Conor McMahon
Written by Conor McMahon
Starring Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Eoghan McQuinn
86 mins

You've got to hand it to a movie that brings out the killer clown concept. Add on a slice of that sweet, sweet zombie mayhem and it ratchets things up that much more. But can "Stitches," a concept that takes both killer clown and zombie together, cash the check that its concept has written?

"Stitches" follows the clown of the same name, who died in a mishap at a child's birthday party involving a fairly mean-spirited prank. Some might say that the clown kind of had it coming, but then others would say that not even a clown deserves what happened there. But when the clown in question comes back from the dead ten years later, with a grudge and a score to settle against the kids at the birthday party, it's going to be a much wilder time than anyone signed on for...perhaps even the undead clown himself.

A revenant clown. You know, reviewing movies for as long as I have, I begin to think that maybe I've finally seen everything, every combination of X and Y in a bid to make as many Reese's Peanut Butter Cup movies as possible. But then I got a revenant clown, and my faith in filmmakers to mash together new combinations of X and Y and maybe even K has been effectively renewed. Plus, the first ten minutes or so are a riot of dysfunction as the clown--who isn't so much evil as largely unconcerned about anything beyond making a quick buck--takes on some of the brattiest kids ever seen by mankind in a prank that may be mean spirited, but was almost certainly never meant to go that far. It's a sad state of affairs, really, but it's still rather funny to watch the most laissez-faire clown on Earth take on some truly horrible children, who by and large, grow up to be mostly horrible teenagers.

Then the part with the balloon shows up. That's where this whole affair becomes a strange combination of horrifying and hilarious, though it will take quite some time before anything even approaches that level of sheer preposterous again, at least until the spontaneous singalong with Cutting Crew's "I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight" kicks up; why kids are that enthusiastic about a song from 1986 is anyone's guess, leaving aside the vague sexual connotations, of course. The upshot here is that there are plenty of laughs, and enough blood to go around to make this a sound horror flick and a decent comedy as well. There's even a bit on the mythology of clowns that makes this a much deeper movie than you'd think a movie about an undead clown could be.

Special features include trailers for "Sleep Tight," "Hypothermia," and "Stitches," though only "Stitches" trailer will be available from the main menu. There's also a making-of featurette, a blooper reel, a commentary track, and your choice of English or Spanish subtitles.

Funny, a little scary, and even somewhat informative, "Stitches" does a sound job on several levels to make it a much more interesting piece than we probably had any right to expect.