JINGLES THE CLOWN
Director: Tommy Brunswick
Year of release: 2009
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 83 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "Mr Jingles is back and now he is really pissed off" and "He's back like you've never sen him before".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Despite being brought to us by the same director this is not a sequel to Mr. Jingles but instead a loose remake/reimagining/reboot or whatever you want to call it with higher production values.
Mr. Jingles is once again our central villain this time with an even more sinister nature as a known child murderer of over thirty children. He looks set to add to this legacy when we first meet him as he murders the parents of two sisters before turning his attention to the girls. With one seemingly dispatched he is interrupted by police before he can finish off the other. Shot by the rescuers and assumed dead the fate of the lunatic is late left up in the air after the cops transporting the body to the morgue are discovered dead and the car abandoned with no sign of the clown’s corpse.
Many years later the legend of Mr. Jingles lives on with his isolated rural estate, the site of many of his crimes seen as a ghoulish hot spot in Jingles’ home town. Looking to cash in on the Jingles interest a paranormal TV show arrange to shoot an episode at the estate. The team are particularly excited for what they perceive to be an ace up their sleeve, an appearance on the show by Angie, the surviving child from the night Jingles was shot. Mr. Jingles however turns out to still be alive and hiding out in his old home and is delighted to have the chance to finish what he started with the unfortunate Angie.
Good points: *As mentioned this has a much bigger budget behind it than its predecessor and indeed better production value than Grim Weekend as well if you want to throw that one into the pot. From a technical standpoint pretty much everything is leaps and bounds better than Mr. Jingles with a much more elaborate set in the jingles estate, much better acting, less grainy more crisp and clear picture and more thought and effort has been put into the story/script. Mr. Jingles very much had that kind of amateurish shot on video vibe to it that while I don’t mind many don’t like but this one feels like a much more professional film so may appeal to a broader audience.
*Two actors, those playing the characters of J.B. and Miranda stood out for me as both doing a fine job. The pair were responsible for spearheading the shooting of the TV show episode so were quite prominent and they played off each other very well. Miranda in particular as the bitchy boss of the whole operation was a hoot at times. The rest of the cast was fairly strong as well to be fair with the actress playing Angie though not as memorable as the previously mentioned pair also being in good form.
*Much like they were with the original film the deaths here are once again one of the stronger ingredients. As with Mr. Jingles the special effects themselves aren’t brilliant but I would say they are a step up from what went before and as they were more than acceptable the first time to have them slightly improved upon here is a bonus. There is a big body count as well so you never have to wait to long for the next kill. I did find some of the murders this time around to be a bit too long winded and drawn out for my personal taste but they are still generous with the gore more often than not so I’d still consider them a positive.
Bad Points: *The overall look and physical appearance of Mr. Jingles himself has been completely redesigned with a new wig and makeup combination and a very different more gothic style costume. This will very much be a matter of personal choice and opinion of course but for me personally I much preferred the way he looked before this change. Personality wise as well he is altered and though they make an admirable attempt to put him across as a lot more of a nutcase with a more sinister nature I don’t think it really came off and I just found him annoying and a tad cringeworthy. He still has the issue of talking too much and although this carries over from the previous film at least then he had a handful of reasonable one liners even if most of them did fall flat. Here he just tends to talk rubbish. It isn’t always evident exactly what he is saying either. To be honest I think they would have been better off just making him silent this time around but as well as the constant jabber he also has a habit here of prancing and dancing around which doesn’t come across well at all in my view.
*I couldn’t help but be disappointed that this film was not a proper sequel to Mr. Jingles but instead a remake. Seeing how the first film came to an end in a very open ended fashion which made it look as if a sequel was on the cards it was frustrating to pick this up expecting a continuation of that only to find this is something totally different with the old story now likely to never get resolved. I can understand why they did it as from watching the extras it seems as if they were offered decent money to use their Mr. Jingles character again. If they had of made a direct sequel that didn’t make much sense on its own as a follow on from a film that was very obscure and that not many would have seen it probably would have hurt sales as those that hadn’t seen the original wouldn’t want to bother with it. Though it isn’t a knock in itself on the quality of this film it’s still disappointing I think to those who have seen the first one to pick this up and find it doesn’t build on the cliffhanger style ending seen previously.
*Spoiler: There were some supernatural elements to the story that actually looked okay visually for a still fairly low budget film but I didn’t fully understand them from a story point of view. It seemed as if they were trying to say that Mr. Jingles couldn’t be killed by normal means and that instead he had a power source of a kind which turned out to be the contents of an old suitcase. Well that was the gist of it I think but the situation wasn’t explained very well with much of the explanation being delivered by one of the weaker more minor female characters who I had trouble understanding. The audio wasn’t the best on occasion plus this character just didn’t speak very clearly. What little I did take from it or perhaps I just assumed as given the circumstances it seemed the logical thing is that if the contents of the case were destroyed then so to would be Mr. Jingles or at least this would render him mortal. This didn’t seem to be how things worked out in the end though so I was a little confused.
*There is a small plot hole at one point where the caretaker of the estate arrives and then promptly leaves again to return to his own property about twenty minutes away to try and get help. One member of the main group at the house insists on going with him but for some reason the rest choose to remain where they are. No reason was given though as to why they all just couldn’t leave with the caretaker.
Verdict: This is kind of a hard one to rate for me as technically this is a far better movie than Mr. Jingles with a much higher class of actors. Despite this though I actually think I preferred the earlier film as that just seemed a bit more fun that this one and despite all the flaws I had a better time watching it. I was let down a bit here by the killer as I found him to have regressed in both personality and appearance though others may enjoy the attempt at making him more edgy. This one to its credit boasts a great location in the old house and grounds of the Jingles estate plus earns plaudits for just being more polished. I can’t rate it any higher than Mr. Jingles however seeing that I enjoyed that one more but I think I could be in the minority in feeling that way. It’s a 3/10 for me but I can see many liking this one more than I and perhaps rating it a bit higher.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Mother: Hit on the head with hammer multiple times.
2)Father: Spike driven through back of head and through mouth.
3)Little girl (Angie’s sister): Killed off screen presumably with saw. We only get confirmation of this death sometime later.
4)Cop #1: Found dead by abandoned car covered in blood.
5)Cop #2: Same as #4.
6)Male trespasser: Runs into sharp edge of spade which splits his head.
7)Female trespasser: Beaten to death with spade.
8)Smoking male TV crew member: Throat cut with saw after being beaten with hammer and boot stomps.
9)Headless corpse #1: Body discovered in barn.
10)Headless corpse #2: Discovered in the barn along with #9.
11)Marco: Stabbed with large screwdriver or dagger type weapon.
12)Dark haired female TV crew member: Electrocuted when near to Marco’s corpse.
13)Male TV crew member with daughter: Impaled with pick axe type tool and dragged off while still alive.
14)Miranda: Struck repeatedly on the head with a mallet.
15)J.B.: Pulled up through ceiling hatch into attic. Think his neck was snapped in the process.
16)Mumbling female TV crew member (Mia?): Decapitated with axe.
I’m not going to count Mr. Jingles as it was implied at the end that he was perhaps still alive in some capacity.