Director: Tommy Brunswick
Year of release: 2006
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 73 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "He's here with an axe to grind" and "His joy is your pain".
Also known as: 2 S.I.C.K.
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: This is sometimes thought of as a sequel to Grim Weekend (S.I.C.K) as this is also known by the title of 2 S.I.C.K. Having seen both I’ll say that they don’t have much in common at all other than that they both feature killer clowns initially persecuted for crimes they didn’t commit. Aside from the similarity with clowns and the more vague backstory thing they are very much sequels in name only and probably not even officially so you don’t need to have seen Grim Weekend before seeing this.
Our story begins here with a lunatic calling himself Mr. Jingles and styled as a clown killing a couple in a surburban house before menacing their adolescent daughter. Before he can finish her off as well the police arrive and shoot the offender dead.
Things then jump forward seven years where we learn that Angie, the girl who survived the ordeal has ever since been confined to a psychiatric unit. We meet her on her day of release where she is to be placed in the care of her aunt and two cousins who still reside in the same town where the Mr.Jingles incident took place years before. To mark Angie’s return her cousin Heidi plans a welcome home party where she plans to introduce Angie to some of her friends. It’s a party about to be crashed however by the back from the grave figure of Mr. Jingles who is out to finish what he started with Angie before his untimely demise.
Good points: *In spite of the obvious budgetary limitations the murders are fun and gory more often than not with among other things a slit throat, a decapitation and most notably a severed body part which will be sure to catch your attention. They don’t skimp at all on the red stuff splashing a lot of blood around. It does look a little hokey in places due to the budget but they have fun with it and make a real effort to entertain here.
*Mr. Jingles himself as the killer looks decent enough. Initially when we first saw him at the beginning I didn’t think he looked very good at all but after things jump forward in time they change up the costume and I found him to look a lot better from that point on. He actually wears a proper clown outfit as well more in line with say Pennywise than just a mask and then a plainer outfit as seen in something like the Camp Blood films.
*I’m going to group three small things that I liked all together in this point that are not big enough to mention on their own:
1)It was nice how the Dylan character had a bit of depth to him with him being conflicted and unsure about pulling the prank on Angie.
2)I liked the jingling bells that would always proceed an appearance by the killer.
3)Spoiler: There was a nice homage to Happy Birthday to me towards the end with the bodies posed around the table and also the bodies of Dylan’s friends posed in the wheel barrow looked cool.
Bad Points: *Mr. Jingles talks a bit too much for my liking which for me lessened his intimidation factor and made him come across as a bit too much of a silly joker. It reminded me a bit of another clown themed slasher that came along later called Clownkill/Locked In if you’ve ever seen that. They were aiming for a Freddy Kruger type killer I guess but it doesn’t really come off with only a handful of the one liners being any good. It can also sometimes be a tiny bit difficult to understand what he is saying. It’s not as bad as in something like Knucklebones where I had a similar complaint but I did find the voice to not be as clear and crisp as I would ideally want.
*The script in a few places isn’t very strong and is particularly amateurish in the scenes involving Dylan’s stoner friends. I found the conversation with this crowd to be a bit embarrassing at times and peppered with too much swearing and insults. As well as tightening these bits up they could perhaps have done with introducing one or two more talky scenes with Angie as well to help build her up as final girl. She was likeable enough I guess but I didn’t feel like I got to know her well enough to truly care about her as final girl.
*Spoiler: As the film progresses it becomes apparent that there is a conspiracy involving Mr. Jingles who was originally arrested for a crime he didn’t commit years ago. He then managed to escape incarceration to attempt revenge on those who framed him which is part of what we see at the beginning with the murder of Angie’s parents. However the details of this conspiracy aren’t explained very well and I found this aspect of things to be a source of confusion throughout. They don’t make it clear enough for example if he killed other people that he also deemed responsible for his situation prior to Angie’s family or if they were the first.
More importantly though I was confused as to why the town Mayor and ex policeman Bill were so concerned early on seemingly over nothing at that point just because Angie had been released. I didn’t understand why her release worried them so much seeing that neither she or the towns people seemed to be in any danger at that stage plus they believed Mr. Jingles to be dead and gone forever in any case. When they initially meet they didn’t even know there had been a murder as they only learned of the cemetery killing during their conversation. Even then the death just seemed to be a random man in the cemetery so that in itself shouldn’t have made them think of Mr. Jingles. It would have been much more logical for this early death to have been one of the original people responsible for Jingles’ imprisonment as at least then there could have been some sort of connection. If indeed that was supposed to be the case it wasn’t made clear at all. It wasn’t even as if Mr. Jingles left any kind of momento at the crime scene to link it to him so I was really confused as to why they were so concerned. It was almost as if they had started working on a case before there was a case if you take my meaning.
*Spoiler again: Bill should also have been more disbelieving and dismissive initially of the long haired stranger character when he turned up shortly after and began saying how Mr. Jingles had sold his soul to the devil and was now back from the dead. This just sounded like the babblings of an idiot at that stage so he should have been more sceptical at first and only come to believe it after another body or two popped up with hints that it was indeed the work of the clown. Furthermore it didn’t make sense at the end how the Bill character returned seemingly unhurt after appearing to be bludgeoned to death by Mr. Jingles earlier in the film. In fact the film ended very much on a cliff-hanger of sorts in an open ended way and annoyingly it probably won’t get resolved now as a sequel looks unlikely. (Jingles the Clown is a reboot not a sequel to this).
*Finally the low budget is in evidence when it comes to the police who are seldom seen and when we do see them they aren’t wearing proper police uniforms. It seems to be more the Mayor dealing with the whole situation as well instead of the local sheriff. Only a small nit pick though which doesn’t taker much away from the film if you are a regular viewer/have a higher tolerance of these lower budget releases.
Verdict: Mr. Jingles is a flawed cheap SOV style slasher that won’t be to all tastes but despite many shortcomings and limitations it does have a few things going for it. Most notably the kills are fun and sometimes inventive with the bodies of victims sometimes posed in interesting ways and the costume for the clown isn’t bad at all. The plot had potential but ultimately comes across as the films biggest failing as they do a poor job of explaining things pertaining to the conspiracy and later the investigation spearheaded by the Mayor. If you don’t mind super low budget slashers though then I’d say it could be at least worth a quick look. Go into it with low expectations and you may find yourself mildly entertained.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Angie’s Mother: A victim of disembowelment.
2)Mr Randall (Angie’s Father): Hacked on the head with two axes.
3)Random man at cemetery: Hand lopped off and then hit with repeated axe strikes to the body.
4)Dylan’s friend #1 (Chris?): Castrated with axe.
5)Dylan’s friend #2 (Curtis?): Hand axe thrown into forehead.
6)Long haired stranger: Fist punched through his torso.
7)Melanie: Stabbed in the back or possibly torso.
8)Heidi’s party love interest (Male): Took an axe to the upper chest.
9)Heidi: Takes an axe blow to the forehead.
10)Heidi’s female friend #1: Struck with an axe to the forehead as her male lover interest was about to go down on her.
11)Male partygoer who was about to get lucky with #10: Decapitated with axe.
12)Band heart throb: Struck with an axe to the neck together with #13
13)Male party guest: Struck with axe to the chest at the same time as #12.
14)Dylan: Struck a couple of times in the legs with axe and then jumped on repeatedly as he coughed up blood.
15)Heidi’s female friend #2: Throat cut slowly with axe in front of Angie.
16)Mayor Baines: Is about to be struck with an axe as the camera cuts away at the end. We hear the sound of the impact as the credits begin to roll.
17)Male policeman: Same as the Mayor.
I’m not counting Bill as despite initially looking to be killed along with #6 he pops back up at the end to liberate Angie from the police/rescue her from Mr. Jingles.