CLOWN KILL

2.5 out of 10

Release date: 15th May 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Mark J Howard

Cast: Roy Basnett, Jessica Cunningham, Stephen Greenhalgh, James Thompson, Tim Paley, Holly Chadwick, Rachel Dargie, Jeff Downs and Simon Entwistle

Writer: Mark J Howard & Stephen Greenhalgh

Trailer: CLOWN KILL

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This narky, no-budget stalker flick at least attempts to be memorable. In a lot of ways, it’s only the budget and the limits of some of its performers that holds this killer clown flick back from achieving a comic notoriety on the same level as some of the well-worn Hollywood horror franchises. However, Stitches it is not – it’s not even Jason X. The main star is the reality TV personality Jessica Cunningham from The Apprentice and more recently Celebrity Big Brother. She plays a woman who works in a shabby ‘ad’ agency, who had, six months earlier, gotten drugged and raped by a clown in a pub toilet. Left to complete a rebranding for a local circus, she finds herself locked in the office with a murderous clown, who may or may not be one of her colleagues in disguise. Could it be her boss, the unhinged Charlie Boy (ROY BASNETT) or Quasimodo (STEPHEN GREENHALGH), the sinister janitor? Could be!? Who cares?

Clown Kill serves up limited laughs, and as weak as they are the ‘have a go’ bunch look like the cast had a good cackle at themselves in the process. Particularly, the two night security guards – still disposable – but at least they have a good line of piss-taking and practical joke playing before the clown gruesomely dispatches them. Did I say this was a horror? Well, it’s about as scary as an episode of Crossroads. There’s zero tension, so the decision to throw in a bunch of jokes was very wise.

The last horror we watched here was the pompous and utterly boring Ripper, which attempted to restore Jack The Ripper, as the ultimate film bogeyman. Clown Kill tries the same, but instead mixes humour with the murderous villainy. It’s the kind of role that welcomes plenty of egg and ham, and I think the actor  who plays the killer clown nails it. It’s just that the film and the location are cheap and the story takes way to long to get going. Yet, if you’re in a very, very forgiving mood, this weird horror-comedy from Widnes or Runcorn could be exactly what you need. If you’re not in the moon it’s just another cheapo quicky to quickly forget about.

2.5 out of 10 – Very lumpy, cut-price slasher flick with amusing script and game performances from it’s amateur cast. Cheapo the Clown, if you like.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jessica Cunningham: Celebrity Big Brother (TV), The Apprentice (TV)
  • Tim Paley: Tash Force, Diary of a Bad Lad

CAGE

4.5 out of 10

Release date: 1st April 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Warren Dudley (The Cutting Room)

Cast: Lucy-Jane Quinlan and Patrick Bergin

Voice cast: Jake Unsworth, Sharon Drain and Andy Costello

Writer: Warren Dudley

Trailer: CAGE

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This economy-class thriller has a secret weapon – a very, very strong and convincing performance by the only actress ‘seen’ in the film, Lucy-Jane Quinlan (THE BROMLEY BOYS). All else would have failed if they gotten a weaker, less committed young performer.

Phone sex-worker, Gracie agrees to meet a client called Peter (PATRICK BERGIN – PATRIOT GAMES). This is against her employers rules, but she is out of money and desperate. The next morning she awakes, a captive in a giant wooden cage, containing a bed, her mobile phone, food and a raging headache. The door is locked shut with a chain and padlock, and she appears to be too weak to smash her way out or try other methods we know. Her only instructions are to wait and all will be revealed as to why she is being held, and that she mustn’t contact the police.  As the days wind onwards, she is put under pressure by a family emergency which she cannot attend to, and increasingly cryptic Peter to deal with.

There is a twist in the tale but then there always is in these types of thrillers. It’s terrifically naff, and not particularly convincing. However, it does present the viewer with something different. It’s a hard one to swallow. Thanks to the previously mentioned central performance, Cage just about sells its story to us and it holds its ground amongst earlier films that offered up a similar premise. It’s a shame there’s still one or two plot holes like – where’s her toilet? Why is she left with a mobile phone that can dial out? I thought it was quite clever how the captor kept her on a hook long enough, so as to get her too weak to break out, but most people we know would have tried harder, sooner to escape. I don’t care how much you needed the money.

4.5 out of 10 – Good low-budget attempt at kidnap thriller that capitalises on a great performance from its unknown lead, but flounders with a twist that nobody wanted and reeks of cop-out.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE CHAMBER (2017)

6 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 27th March 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ben Parker

Cast: Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Charlotte Salt, James McArdle, Elliot Levey and David Horovitch

Writer: Ben Parker

Trailer:THE CHAMBER (2017)

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Johannes Bah Kuhnke: Forces Majeure
  • Charlotte Salt: The Bunker, The Musketeers (TV), Casualty (TV), The Tudors (TV)
  • James McArdle: On the Road (2017)
  • Elliot Levey: Denial, Florence Foster Jenkins, Spooks – The Greater Good, Man Down (TV),  Da Vinci’s Demons (TV), The Low Down
  • David Horovitch: The Infiltrator, Mr Turner, In Your Dreams, Young Victoria, Max, Solomon & Gaenor, Just William (TV)

CRUEL SUMMER

7.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 13th February 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Phillip Escott & Craig Newman

Cast: Danny Miller, Richard Pawulski, Natalie Martins, Reece Douglas, Gary Knowles, Grace Dixon and Thomas ‘Verb T’ Conning

Writer: Phillip Escott & Craig Newman

Trailer: CRUEL SUMMER

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE COMEDIAN’S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL

4.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 31st October 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Mark Murphy (Awaiting / The Crypt)

Cast: James Buckley, Paul Kaye, Clair Buckley, Kevin Eldon, Jalaal Hartley, James Mullinger,  Neil Stuke, Tim McInnerny, Norman Pace, Peter Woodward, Mark Heap, Natalie Stone with MyAnna Buring and Vas Blackwoord with Omid Djalili, Jimmy Carr, Brendon Burns, Luenell, Mike Ward, Mike Wilmot, Gina Yashere and Gilbert Gottfried

Writer: Mark Murphy & James Mullinger

Trailer: THE COMEDIAN’S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

CAPSULE

6 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 26th September 2016 (DVD PREMIERE)
Director: Andrew Martin

Cast: Edmund Kingsley and Lisa Greenwood

Voice Cast: David Wayman, Nigel Barber, Gil Kolirin, Ged Petkunas and Michael Koltes

Writer: Felix Forrest & Andrew Martin

Trailer: CAPSULE

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

CHERRY TREE

2.5 out of 10

Irish Production

Release Date: 23rd May 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: David Keating (Wake Wood / The Last of the High Kings)

Cast: Anna Walton, Naomi Battrick, Sam Hazeldine, Minnie Phipps with Valerie O’Connor and Patrick Gibson

Writer: Brendan McCarthy

Trailer: CHERRY TREE

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This dizzy horror clunker aims to be Dublin’s answer to the Italian Giallo horrors of the 1970s but ends up being more like Hollyoaks meets an arty zit cream commercial. Soft porn shenigans would probably excite Joe Pesci II (the other reviewer) but it didn’t do anything for me except wonder at how the director of the brilliant Last of the High Kings has ended up making flaccid horrors.

Naomi Battrick’s (BLOOD (2013)) schoolgirl makes a pact with her PE teacher played by Anna Walton (Deviation) to give her a baby, who with a little bit of black magic and unknown to school girl, may well be the devil. Argghhhhhh. In exchange, the PE teacher come witch will cure her father (SAM HAZELDINE – THE MECHANIC 2) of terminal cancer with some weird caterpillars (the only thing worth watching in the whole film is this special effect!)

Anyway, the plots gets equally derailed by having us follow around a stroppy, pregnant teenager, a baddy that’s about as scary as Count Duckula (poor Anna Walton a good actress trapped in terrible movies), and a confusing logic set. This is our humdrum world were ghosts hang around, ordinary people are devil worshippers and talented actors get upstaged by a handful of creepy crawlies. Some decent special effects aside and a few creative and bloody scenes aside, this is largely a snooze-fest. It’s not the worst Irish film I’ve seen, that could be the Vinnie Jones‘ starrer – Stories from the Bog or whatever it was called. But it could have been a bit more energetic and a bit livelier. Soft porn and gore aside, this isn’t worth recommending to anybody except perverted bin men… or Matt Usher , but even he didn’t like it. See review below.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THIS ACTOR IN BEFORE?