There’s much mileage to be made from a killer clown movie, but Stitches fails on nearly every level. The Irish film misses the mark, leaving the door open for someone else to make a decent chiller out of the concept. Director Conor McMahon attempts to deliver a comedy/horror reminiscent of slasher efforts from the ‘80s, but he doesn’t have the skill to pull it off. The jokes fail and the horror is non-existent, leaving nothing but an amateurish film with poor performances.
Ross Noble’s clown (the titular Stitches) dies in a freak accident at a children’s birthday party. However, he doesn’t stay dead for long as an ancient Clown rule (!) states that each painted faced joker must finish every performance. Six years later Stitches is resurrected by a bizarre clown cult (in the film’s best moment) and soon he’s seeking revenge on the very kids who caused his gory demise.
The core elements are present to make an enjoyable film, but terrible sight-gags and an uneven tone hinder the film from the beginning. The jokes are over played, the gore is over used and there’s a total lack of tension. In short, it’s a comedy without laughs and a horror without scares. Stitches could have worked, but McMahon doesn’t show restraint. He also doesn’t appear to know much about filmmaking. Sure, the gore affects are decent, but nothing else comes across as competent. The acting by the young cast ranges from passable to inept, while McMahon makes some very poor choices in the editing room. McMahon name-checks Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson in the bonus material and like the early work of those directors, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Stitches had been shot by a group of friends on weekends. However, I am surprised that it was funded by the Irish Film Board. Stitches is horrific – but not in the way it would like to be.
The Blu-ray of Stitches comes with solid extras, a shame considering that the film is so poor. If you like the film then you’ll be interested in the bonus material; however it just prolongs the agony for everyone else.