Monday, January 13, 2014

Stitches (2012): The Comedy of Violence

Stitches (2012)
dir: Conor McMahon

When one thinks of blackly comic clown movies, mostly the movies are bleak and full of loathing. Clowns in cinema have become symbols on which to hang ironic situations that destroy ones love of life and/or humanity. Shakes the Clown, and Vulgar, for instance, are two clown movies which are unrelentingly bleak and darkly funny through pessimistic means.

Stitches opens with the titular clown fucking a woman in a trailer, giving a nod to the common type of movie where clowns are put upon poor people who, through their desire to make people laugh, have lost all semblance of humanity in themselves. The next scene, a child's 10th birthday party, further emphasizes this type of reading, right up until Stitches is killed by the children on accident.

At this point, Stitches ceases with the typical bleakness of a clown's life, and becomes about guilt and redemption after a murder. 6 years later, the same child is having his 16th birthday party, and now it is time to pay the piper, as Stitches comes back to life seeking vengeance on those who murdered him.

The thing to remember when watching Stitches is that it seems to want people to think it is a horror movie, but it seems to be a complete and utter comedy, especially when Stitches is on screen. The killer clown scenes are filled with unbelievable levels of violence and gore, and it is when Stitches is around that the movie actually is kind of funny.

Despite Stitches' obvious low budget, McMahon actually crafted some spectacular and memorable kill scenes. Every now and then, Stitches even achieves the visceral reaction that makes somebody squirm pleasantly while watching the teenager be murdered. When it isn't attempting to be visceral, Stitches is aiming for spectacular. Frequently, McMahon shoots the blood splatter in slow-motion against stark black backgrounds, as if it was a special effect horror edition of Time Warp.

The movie doesn't hold enough actual interest in it to make it a good or great movie. There is little tension, and the wittiness is pretty much kept to Stitches and his murder scenes. Throughout the remainder of the movie, the wit is sorely lacking (e.g. Oh, look, the not-so-fat gay fat kid is gorging himself on cans of strawberries!  HAR HAR!!), but it's never quite dull enough to quit the movie.

Who will like Stitches? The gorehounds and the easily amused. It's not gory in a realistic sense, but there is enough blood to be quite fun. And the jokes are witty enough to give it a pass. If you fit into neither of these categories, and also were looking for something high tension, you might be bored silly. But, for those in these categories, there is probably a lot to love.

No comments:

Post a Comment