For some, the concept of a clown back from the dead seeking revenge for his untimely death is no laughing matter. However, the integration of teen angst into this slasher movie somewhat softens the blow, and will leave you in literal stitches.
Stitches, directed by Conor McMahon, tells the story of a jaded clown and his downfall. This exact downfall ends with Richard “Stitches” Grindle’s fatality – an event he was not ready for. To some extent a group of teasing ten-year-olds are responsible for Stitches’s demise, and six years on, they are still suffering the psychological consequences of their childish pranks. One particular victim of a guilty conscience is the birthday boy (Tommy Knight), who is seen knocking back anti-anxiety drugs.
Persuaded by his friends to throw a party in celebration of his upcoming sixteenth birthday, Mr. Anti-Anxiety seems to have just about made it out the other side of his haunting visions. Just in time, it seems, for Stitches, who turns up uninvited to seek retribution for his accidental death six years ago.
Played by stand-up comedian, Ross Noble, Stitches is a clown stuffed with more profanities than jokes. Hell-bent on exacting his revenge, armed with a knife and a few clown accessories, Stitches makes his way through the group of friends (the same group as before at the tenth birthday party) and a cat, in a gore-for-the-sake-of-gore-fest.
Showcasing extreme personalities within the teen’s friendship group helps build the riotous dialogue that really sets Stitches apart from other films from the same genre. Even the predictability of the film can be ignored as the witty words totally draw this film away from any stereotyping, casting it into a different pool (of blood) altogether.
Noble plays the cynical clown to perfection and his comic experience can be recognised instantly with his faultless timing. Any intelligence stops short immediately after the discourse, and there are no hidden messages or elements to this film; making it no deeper than a surface wound. However, the continuous running themes tie the film together cohesively, leaving it shockingly coherent, with an open ending for a possible sequel.
Attention should be paid to the genius soundtrack behind the film, a small indicator to the thought processes behind the film – every detail has been thought through.
Although slasher films are not for everybody, Stitches is certainly unique and Noble brings a stage presence to the film quite unlike your average revenge-seeking-clown. The director has clearly stuck his neck out for this film, throwing everything he can at it. But the result is a montage of comedy and horror that actually works rather well.
This film will get you when you least expect it, and will have you laughing your head off.
Stitches is released nationwide on 26th October 2012.
Watch the trailer for Stitches here: