Release Year – 2012
Shane Murray Corcoran
Thommas Kane Byrnes
Teenager based horror films are clearly a dime a dozen. Teenager based slashers are more common than standing in any downtown area and immediately being asked for a cigarette. Finding one where the characters feel completely genuine and actually appear to be real high school aged kids is so incredibly rare, it may almost be the slasher genre’s holy grail. And this is where Stitches stands out.
The film starts with the titular clown working a children’s birthday party, except all of the children here are little assholes. See where I am going with the realism? After they dick around with poor Stitches, he is accidentally killed by falling on a face up knife that was placed in the dishwasher which goes through his skull. The birthday boy Tom goes into the cemetery next door and discovers a clown cult who are performing a ritual for their fallen comrade.
We then fast forward six years later where all of the kids from the party are now seventeen. And this is where the film really begins to stand out. Every single one of the characters actually appear to be real teenagers, and actually act like teens in high school. Tom (Knight) has become somewhat of an outcast due to the trauma from the party. He is madly in love with Kate (Devereux) who is dating a guy too busy discussing how good his guitar solos are to really pay attention to her. And yes, I am sure you know where this is all headed. Being that Tom’s mother is out of town, he is convinced to throw a party on the weekend that coincides with his birthday. Obviously, Stitches comes back from the grave and begins knocking the partygoers off one by bloody one.
Is the plot going to win any awards for originality? No, but let’s be serious, no one watches slasher films for the plot. They are watched for the fun and the mayhem.
As I’ve stated before, what really makes the film standout is how real the kids feel. Very few horror films are able to attain this level of realism from their characters. Even films heralded by critics and fans alike for this characteristic are flawed in some aspects. Look at Scream, a film considered at the forefront of having life-like realistic characters instead of clichés, and most of them look a good 8-10 years older than the high schoolers they are supposed to be portraying. So to have a cast full of characters that not only look the part, but are actually able to act and feel real is a true accomplishment.
As for the mayhem part, the film is chock full of fun deaths, although at times they are hindered by the low budget CGI. It’s no secret that a film like this would have truly benefitted from prosthetic effects, but sadly this is the day and age we live in, so I can’t fault it too much for that. My favourite death involves one of the characters having a balloon airpump shoved in the back of his skull….and to give more away would be doing the film a disservice.
It is also necessary to talk about how awesome Ross Noble is as Stitches. Obviously he is nowhere near the level of Tim Curry‘s performance as Pennywise, but the character doesn’t call for that. Stitches is your typical drunken down on his luck clown who just wants vengeance on those who wronged him. There is rarely a minute that goes by with him on screen where he isn’t cursing under his breath, and you can tell that this was just a fun role for the comedian to bite into.
If you are a fan of good fun B-Movie horror, you could do much worse than Stitches. It is currently available on Netflix for instant streaming. Definitely one of more goofy and fun horror flicks to emerge from the last few years, and from Ireland of all places.