Review: Stitches / Cert: 18 / Director: Conor MacMahon / Screenplay: Conor MacMahon, David O'Brien / Starring: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Tom Cullen / Release Date: March 4th
Ever since Killer Klowns from Outer Space, big shoes and red noses have meant only one thing to cinemagoers: danger! And so it proves in Stitches. It begins at a child’s tenth birthday party where the little tykes are just getting to that stage where jelly and ice cream no longer hold an interest and random destruction does. A foul-mouthed, joint-smoking clown named Stitches rolls up late and fails to impress with his spring-loaded hand, balloon animals and magic tricks. Whereupon one of his young audience plays a prank which ends badly when Stitches gets a knife through the head and dies.
The kid throwing the party is racked with guilt, which turns to fear when he witnesses some kind of ancient clown black magic ritual at Stitches' funeral. Jump forward six years, and he's sprouted into a depressed, virginal teenager about to celebrate another birthday, which gets out of hand when most of the kids in his school find out he has a free house for the week and decide to hold a party there. Inevitably, Stitches returns from the dead and stalks the adolescents, killing them off in increasingly gory and hilarious ways.
Stitches scores mainly in terms of its grue and gag content. Despite having a fairly mainstream comedian as the lead, the film goes full tilt into graphic violence and comic brutality. Heads are exploded, intestines are made into balloon animals and penises are graphically severed. Some of this will have you chuckling or flinching pleasurably, but it's a shame that the victims aren't more likeable, with only the wimpy main protagonist providing some relief from all the teenage bravado.
Another disappointment is that Ross Noble seems oddly restrained in the title role, which is probably more the director's fault than his own. He delivers with aplomb the occasional Freddy Krueger-style wisecrack as he kills, but it’s only really in the outtakes over the end credits that we get to see how this gifted comic might have improvised and expanded the material given the chance.
For all these reasons, Stitches is great post-pub viewing for the casual horror fan but something of cinematic pratfall for the rest of us.
Extras: Making Of featurette