The Movie Waffler First Look Review - CLOWNFACE | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - CLOWNFACE

clownface review
A masked maniac terrorises a small English village.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Alex Bourne

Starring: Thomas Loone,  Philip Bailey, Hannah Douglas, Dani Tonks

clownface poster

Barely 10 minutes into their night of kinky sex, giant spliffs, shots and junk food, Clownface ensures Zoe and Rick pay for their sins.

As is the way with slasher horrors, you don’t survive long if you partake in the things that make life fun.

The opening death is surprisingly brutal and Clownface’s mask is also very effective in its construction; it looks fleshy and moist somehow. Before roommate Jenna can get home from her night out and discover what happened in her home, Zoe (Dani Tonks) is knocked out and carried away by Clownface.

clownface review

Post credits and sometime later, we are introduced to a shy and unassuming man, fresh to the town and moving into his share house with a caricature of a landlady. As he unpacks he withdraws a gun and newspaper clippings of the violent town's past - there’s a story there!

Meanwhile PTSD-suffering Jenna tells her dad there’s nothing to worry about and heads out with an “I love you”. Obviously still nursing old psychological wounds from the abduction of her friend the year previous, she is attempting to put it behind her and get on with a new job.

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Elsewhere, the unassuming young man is Owen (Richard Buck) and he wants to band together with Jenna to defeat Clownface, but first he has to convince her that the urban legend is real.

The film alternates between Zoe’s sad existence in Clownface’s lair where she communes with deceased boyfriend Rick (Thomas Loone) or slow dances with her captor, and Jenna’s attempts at adjusting to normal life after the fateful night her friend was kidnapped and her boyfriend killed.

clownface review

The penultimate showdown at the party is pretty silly and seems to be the moment the film jumps the shark. No one takes him down? He leaves his weapon lying about, he’s a single person with a knife and no one calls the cops or gangs up on him? Seems a little far-fetched.

The finale was unexpectedly touching but it felt like it took a long time to get there, even though the film is only an hour and a half.

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As written and directed by Alex Bourne, I’ll admit this did struggle to hold my attention. The acting is a mixed bag with some performances quite good while others are seemingly from a different film altogether and unable to maintain a consistent quality. It also suffers from too many characters that just muddy the simple plot.

clownface review

Unfortunately the sound in some scenes is so poor that often dialogue cannot be heard over background music; this adds to the feeling of ‘lesser quality’ already exacerbated by the constant use of handheld camera. The gore is reasonably executed and the outdoor scenes give a good sense of English village-life; place and tone are well established.

Buoyed by a natural and likable central performance by Hannah Douglas as Jenna, nicely moody direction, nasty kills and some effectively staged ‘scares’, this is mostly let down by a script that frankly is just not all that compelling. The good stuff here is actually really good, but I wish it had come together in a more interesting fashion.

Clownface is on US DVD/Digital now. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

2020 movie reviews