Stitches


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"Everybody Happy "

March 11th, 2013

Clowns. Is there anyone out there who actually likes them? I never found them all that scary (until I watched IT and all but shat my pants) but rather utterly underwhelming and somewhat creepy. So when a horror movie came along focusing on one of the buggers I was a little apprehensive, the creep factor was there but I didn't want to be disappointed in yet another clown. Stitches is the first clown I've actually liked.

Disgruntled children's performer Stitches attends a child's birthday bash and encounters some rather rambunctious youths who feel as interested in clowns as I do. After the kids playing a little prank on Stitches he ends up deader than a clowns career in today's modern climate. 6 years later the children are now horney little teens (much more annoying than clowns) and throw another party but this time the jokes on them as Stitches returns from the grave.

Horror films of the last couple of years have fallen into certain categories the most over used being zombie outbreaks and Torture porn. If there is one genre that I miss more than any other it has to be the slasher film. Growing up watching them throughout the 80's they remain a constant comfort food but have all but disappeared (and those that have are beyond dire). Stitches is a return to that golden era and stands tall with the best of them.

Slasher plots never need to be sophisticated and Stitches is anything but . Fortunately it succeeds by providing a unique and interesting playground while keeping to slasher movie troupes (very much an homage to where it came from). Rather than relying on the very Scooby Dooish killer in a mask (which got a sudden influx due to Scream) Stitches takes the Supernatural route (most akin to the Nightmare on Elm Street series) with the villain returning from the dead to exact revenge on those who wronged him.

The film was definitely named well as Stitches really is the glue that holds the film together. Ross Noble (yep that one) brings the character to life in a way that I never expected putting a villain on screen that can stand toe to toe with the likes of Freddy and Chucky (It's just a shame they are the only other slasher bad guys that actually talk). Coming off as a demented version of Mr. Jelly from Psychoville (I know not much of a stretch to imagine) the character really begins to shine after his resurrection. Revelling in the carnage he creates he delivers some brilliant one liners in a tone that acknowledges the cheesiness (I got the feeling Stitches wasn't amused but it was a requirement of the undead clown gig).

The opening setup is an absolute blast and I could spend an entire movie with the character and his rather depressing life. It's also backed up with some great child actors who amp up how obnoxious large groups of young children can be. Unfortunately there is a drawback from such a brilliant antagonist and that comes from the overshadowing of the rest of the cast. When Stitches is off screen you yearn for him to return, a factor that really makes the middle section of the movie to drag slightly.

By transitioning from the younger group to the teens we unfortunately lose Stitches for a large portion of the flick which left me yearning for his return (therein lies the issue with creating a great antagonist). The teen drama and high school antics are defiantly needed as we need to become reacquainted with the cast and allow them enough development to raise them above mere cannon fodder (a mistake less horror movies fail with) but it can feel slow moving.

A positive that came from the teens is the fact that they come off as a real depiction of how teenagers behave and talk. For years I've watched the division of high /secondary school into groups that always came off as unnatural, Stitches gave me a representation that was closer to my own school life (Though that may be because I am British).

To reclaim the audience's interest throughout the slow burn sections a variety of hallucinations plague the main character (Played by Tommy Knight) who is tormented by Stitches death (I love the reference to the Nightmare series by having the character use Hypnocil). These moments are well shot but failed to relieve the banality fully rather reminding me that Stitches was missing. It's also quickly dropped later in the film (they could have played with the fact the character may have been imagining the clown) affirming the fact it was only introduced to alleviate the dialogue heavy scenes.

Once we pass these moments the movie really kicks into full gear locking a smile on your face for the rest of the run time. The death sequences and special effects are top notch rather than going for realism (why would you it's about a killer clown) things are played over the top and comical with fountains of blood. It's hard to praise how amazing the films SFX are using practical effects with CGI used sparingly to enhance them (as it should be in all movies).

On top of that the clown imagery is cleverly interwoven throughout (the clown face padlock was genius) and the mythology created to explain the resurrection is suitably creepy. It gives the entire proceedings another layer of depth that has the potential to suit a franchise (be it for a return of Stitches or another clown).

The reason I actually decided to watch this was when I saw an online promo featuring the song (I Just) Died In Your Arms (further cementing this as a throwback to 80's horror). What pleased me when watching the film is that the song is featured prominently in a fantastical comical/horrific sequence that was the absolute highlight of the film for me. The rest of the soundtrack may not have the same gravitas as that song but it fits perfectly with the tone of the film.

At no point does Stitches attempt to scare you (I suppose it depends on how scary you find clowns) but it does manage to entertain through humour, gross out and the occasional creep factor. Stitches is a genuine treat of a slasher film (even with a slow paced middle) that took me back in time to a period when horror meant fun. On sale now (at a very low price) I urge you to pick it as it's the perfect Friday night treat along with a pizza and I really really want to see a sequel.


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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director:Conor McMahon
Screenplay: Conor McMahon
Released:2012
Rating: 18
Starring: Ross Noble
Tommy Knight
Gemma-Leah Devereux