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CLOWN KILL

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Film Details:

Director: Mark J. Howard

Year of release: 2014

Country of origin: UK

Running time: 92 minutes

DVD/Blu ray: DVD only

Tagline: "His party, your funeral".

Also known as: Lock In

Estimated budget: £148,000

 

 

 

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Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre

Story: Kicking off with a prologue type segment a young woman is drugged and raped at a party by a weirdo dressed as a clown.  

 

Into the story proper some six months later the victim, a woman called Jenny is given a tough deadline to meet by her boss at the advertisement firm where she works.  With her fellow colleagues already assigned to other projects Jenny is given sole responsibility of putting together an ad campaign for an important new client which must be ready for the following morning.  In order to finish on schedule she decides to pull an all-nighter, staying at the office after hours when most everyone else has gone home.  

 

It soon transpires that the rapist clown from the party months earlier is not finished with Jenny as he turns up at the office to stalk her through the lonely rooms and corridors of the near deserted office building.    

 

 

Good points: *Clown Kill is funny at times in its dialogue between the characters.  I found the rude, sleazy boss John to be an entertaining character and his scenes early on to establish the set up of Jenny’s workload were good.  His verbal exchanges with another character (Karen) also stood out.  The best of the entertainment value and comedy however come from the trio of security guards Nigel, George and Colin who have some very funny conversations and banter among themselves. This is particularly true of Colin and George with the Supervisor character being pretty funny as well.  

 

 

*The clown villain looks reasonable, nowhere near the level of something like IT’s Pennywise or Art of Terrifier fame but he’s passable at least.  He doesn’t look hugely scary by any stretch but some effort has gone into the make up and costume so there’s some value to be found here.  The clown puppet seen towards the end of the film is a nice touch and is more creepy looking I’d say than his larger counterpart.  

 

The other antagonist, a caretaker type figure called Jennings has also had some effort put into his appearance with a funny eye and burn scar type make up.  Again nothing overly scary or impressive but they’ve made an effort.

 

 

*The setting of the office worked very well and along with some of the humour I’d say is the most memorable thing about the film.  Though not uncharted territory for the genre it’s a relatively seldom seen location so renders the film a little more noteworthy.  

 

 

*There are a few little touches that play into the clown theme that I could appreciate.  To pick them out an inflatable ball, a custard pie, a squirty flower and a hand buzzer all come into play and help solidify the villain as a more legitimate clown.  Similarly the killer is often ready with a Freddy Kruger style quip and though these are hit and miss in terms of quality it ties in with the humorous side of clowns.

 

 

 

Bad Points: *There is little on display in terms of blood and gore.  There is pretty much next to nothing really going on here with nearly all the kills.  The extent of it is a bit of blood splashed on some corpses posed around a table near the end.  There’s a low body count as well which doesn’t help.    

 

In addition there is also a really bad fight scene early on which conjures up memories of an equally bad scene from Intruder.  The fight here is mercifully shorter but just as cringeworthy.  The low budget really shines through unfortunately when it comes to the action sequences and effects.  

 

 

*The final girl character of Jenny wasn’t very well written and seemed to be glossed over in favour of the admittedly funny trio of the security guards.  I didn’t feel as if I learnt enough about Jenny as she didn’t have a huge amount of dialogue other than her early scenes with John.  As such she didn’t come across as someone I liked too much or was invested in.  I was never really bothered whether she lived or died.  Most of our time spent with her seems to be taken up with watching her stagger around the office corridors in a drugged stupor.  

 

Mild spoilers: On the subject of Jenny there are a couple of weird scenes involving her firstly when she is taking a shower.  After stepping out to dry herself she suddenly acts freaked out and runs off to hide.  The killer had been in the room shortly before to put something in her unattended water bottle but had left again by the time she left the shower.  I think they were making out she’d heard the killer shut the door as he left but it wasn’t at all clear so it was more like she was just flipping out for no reason.  

 

Shortly after the killer speaks over an intercom mentioning how he spiked her drink in the club in the past but Jenny now with the aforementioned water bottle from the shower room in hand continues to sip from it.  With the verbal reminder over the intercom plus her apparent suspicion the killer had just crept up on her in the shower wouldn’t she realise he’d potentially spiked her drink again?    

 

 

*I’ve already mentioned that the film is funny at times and though they sometimes get it right I do think at other times they take it too far and make things way too silly.  Colin wetting himself springs to mind as swell as his ridiculous outfit.

 

 

*Big spoilers: The ending of the film is very muddled and confusing to the point where it ruined the experience somewhat for me.  To my mind it didn’t make much sense and wasn’t at all clear cut and could potentially be interpreted in two different ways.  My initial thought was that Jenny survived the office attack and was later in a hospital in a coma.  Colin and John reappearing could then be considered a homage to the ending of Camp Blood where actors who got killed off earlier return at the end in different roles.  Alternatively it could be more of a reproduction of Slaughter High with the whole thing being a dream with Jenny being in a coma since the initial rape at the party at the start.  Some may like an open ended finish but for me I like something much more concrete.  It’s going to be down to personal taste I guess though as to how well you can stomach an ambiguous conclusion.  

 

This isn’t the end of it though as it’s also not explained what the alliance is between John and the Caretaker and what there ultimate plan would have been had one not of betrayed the other.  Also why did Nigel all of a sudden start to trust the Caretaker at the end going as far as to call him one of the ‘good guys’? He didn’t think he was responsible for any of the kills sure but he still shouldn’t have been in the building and had assaulted Jenny earlier so he certainly wasn’t someone to like or trust.  To be frank the entire ending sequence wasn’t particularly well written and threw up more questions than answers.  

 

 

 

Verdict: This is a film that has a number of problems most notably when it comes to the special effects or lack there-of, a lacklustre final girl and a mixed up ending which doesn’t provide any definitive closure.

 

I’ve talked a lot about the problems with the film in the review but in spite of all the flaws I did enjoy it probably more than you’d think as some of the humour worked well and the office backdrop definitely added something.  It could have been a lot better with the ending in particular letting me down but as a fairly low budget film you could do a lot worse.  For me it’s somewhere in the region of a four to as much as a six out of ten so I’ll go in the middle and say a five.  Maybe a bit generous but it did hit some good notes on occasion.  

 

 

5/10  49/100

 

 

Bodycount (contains major spoilers):

1)Colin: Blinded by bleach to the eyes and then throat cut.  

2)George: Electrocuted by hand buzzer.  

3)Female office worker: Killed off camera in the lift.  

4)Bearded supervisor: Hit repeatedly in the head with a shovel.  

5)Karen: Body seen posed at table.  Presumably killed off camera earlier.  

6)John: Stabbed in the eyes with two spikes which are then pushed into his head to kill him.  (Nigel accidentally bashes a door into the spikes knocking them in).  

 

I’m not counting either jenny or Nigel as with Jenny it isn’t clear in the final scenes what happens to her or if the whole film is a dream etc.  Nigel also appears to possibly be about to be killed at the end but it’s not clear what happens to him so I left him out. Maybe he actually did die, to be honest I can’t quite remember! (my notes aren’t clear).                

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clown kill