Thursday 22 February 2018

Please, don't send in the clownsstitches

Paul Whitington

(16, general release, 86 minutes)

Director: Conor McMahon Stars: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight. Gemma-Leah Devereux


Filmed in Ireland and directed and co-written by Conor McMahon, Stitches is a singularly inept and mean-spirited low-budget horror film that searches for laughs in gore and grotesqueness but never ever finds them.

English stand-up comedian Ross Noble (pictured) plays 'Stitches', a jobbing clown who struggles to maintain his composure when he endeavours to entertain a bunch of spoilt middle-class children at a birthday party.

After one of the kids plays a trick on him, Stitches loses his footing and, in a horrible freak accident, is killed by a falling knife.

Poor Stitches is laid to rest and most of the kids get on with their lives, but Tom (Tommy Knight) is haunted by the grisly accident, and as he grows up, turns into a neurotic recluse.

Years later, Tom is persuaded by his earstwhile schoolmates to throw a house party while his dreadful mother is away on business.

He agrees, but does not know that the festivities will rouse Stitches' undead spirit, which will turn up at the party with revenge in mind.

We've seen this kind of teen slasher stuff a thousand times before, but rarely as badly done as this.

The teenage characters are odious caricatures above and beyond the call of duty, no doubt to enable McMahon and co-writer David O'Brien to justify their gory excesses.

These culminate in the summary spaying of an unfortunate young man, albeit in a dream sequence, and O'Brien and McMahon reach instinctively for the bucket of chum whenever they run out of ideas.

Which is often.

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