Coulrophobia is no joke to Judge Paul Pritchard.
"God, I miss killing clowns."
"Clowns aren't people, clowns are clowns!"
Facts of the Case
Clowns. Once the source of much amusement, these much-maligned entertainers have become prize game for hunters in the wilds of Texas. With clown-hunting season fast approaching, a group of marksmen gathers to tag themselves a few of the red-nosed critters.
This season, however, promises to be different, as reports suggest Albino Willie—a rare albino clown—is in the area. Willie brings with him a fearsome reputation as a clown prepared to fight back. When the hunters find themselves under attack, it seems the rumors of Willie having returned may very well be true.
Curiosity dictates that, for a small band of viewers at least, a film entitled Clown Hunt is essential viewing. Although the odds are stacked massively against it, one lives in the hope that, perhaps, this could be the next cult hit in waiting. Alas, while nobody could realistically accuse Clown Hunt of being a complete stinker, writer-director Barry Tubb's film lacks a strong enough identity to warrant either critical acclaim or a cult following.
The film moves along at a brisk enough pace—and at a mere 72 minutes, hardly risks outstaying its welcome—but a movie needs more than a novel gimmick to win itself an audience. Therein lies the real problem with Clown Hunt; for all the evident enthusiasm, and despite one or two laugh-out-loud moments, there's zero substance to be found. As the film lacks the cojones to succeed on visceral thrills alone, one has to question who is Clown Hunt expected to appeal to?
As a comedy, which, first and foremost is exactly what Clown Hunt is, the humor too rarely poses a risk to the integrity of one's bowel. Instead, the gags, such as the mating ritual of clowns, are enough to keep a smile on your face, but little more. Thankfully, one or two moments really do hit the mark, at least for those with a darker or messed-up sense of humor—the obvious highlight being a scene depicting a hunter being brutally violated by a deranged clown.
The cast is clearly having fun, and nobody is fooling themselves that this is a classy production. The most, if not only, recognizable face is that of David Keith (Daredevil), who makes a couple of brief appearances toward the start of the movie to crack a couple of jokes before taking his leave.
Despite his film feeling lightweight, Barry Tubb's work in the director's chair ensures Clown Hunt is a cut above your average low-budget flick. Action scenes, though fleeting, are well-realized, with a chase sequence toward the end being a prime example. The inclusion of Albino Willie, a sinister, murderous clown, suggests an attempt to move Clown Hunt toward horror territory. In this respect, Tubb is less successful. Although the scenes involving Willie are noticeably darker, the film's overall tone is too scattershot to have the desired effect.
The DVD contains an impressive transfer. The picture remains sharp throughout, with bright colors and a good level of detail. The stereo soundtrack is more problematic, however. Although dialogue remains clear, audio levels are prone to jumping from one scene to the next, meaning you'd best keep your remote to hand if you don't want to wake the neighbors. A slideshow—and a poor one at that—is the sole special feature.
While I'm not going to recommend Clown Hunt, I'd certainly not try to dissuade anyone from watching it if the concept appeals to them. It's far from an awful film, and as a slice of late-night (borderline) trash, it kind of works.
It's not total clown shoes, but it's still guilty.
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