Poorly handled killer clown comedy-horror starring Ross Noble
Teenager Tom (Tommy Knight) is an uptight, nervous wreck. After a traumatic experience at a childhood birthday party, at which a scuzzy kids’ entertainer named Stitches (Ross Noble) was accidentally killed, he’s grown up to be a pill-popping neurotic, bullied at school and unable to talk to girls. He’s badgered by his mates to loosen up and throw a house party – little do they know that Stitches is back from the dead, and looking for revenge.
Stitches is bursting at the seams with good ideas, but director Conor McMahon stumbles when it comes to the execution. Noble’s villain is a great Freddy Krueger-like mix of facial disfigurement, cheesy one-liners and sadistic intent, but the Geordie comedian’s talent for comic timing is left hanging in tatters by a heavy-handed edit. The kills – heartily embellished by both practical and computer-generated effects – are suitably gory, but are once again victims of shoddy pacing, and several scenes drag on far too long in an effort to get the most out of the effects budget. McMahon’s decision to rest the story on the teenage characters rather than Stitches himself is also a misstep: they are, for the large part, terminally irritating, and their deaths can’t (and don’t) come fast enough.
It’s a shame, because the core concept of Stitches has so much going for it. This is one case where an American remake might actually be a worthwhile endeavour – with Wes Craven at the helm and, say, Doug Stanhope in the lead role, Stitches would almost certainly be a tailor-made success.
General release from Fri 26 Oct. Thanks to Vue Omni.