Stitches and Grabbers
Stitches is one of those films I’ve seen listed a million times on Netflix. I’ve passed it by again and again simply because I don’t find clowns scary. That combined with a distrust of Netflix (which has consistently proven it knows NOTHING about horror) has kept me from this film for quite a while, but after hearing a friend recommend it I decided to finally give it a chance.
It’s not an asylum film (so many of the horror movies on Netflix are. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of agreement or sponsorship, much like SyFy has with the Asylum), and I was surprised that it was an irish film. It has a very 80’s feel to it. a ton of practical effects and a standard plot – undead killer returns to murder the group of teenagers who caused his death. In this case it was a clown who died accidentally at a child’s birthday party.
They never explain why he waits a decade or so to return, but the how is touched upon in an interesting way. The film introduces the idea that all clowns are part of a secret cult (ironically, I was a clown and in fact WAS inducted into a secret order…no, I’m not joking.) and each has a connection to a weird painted egg – an avatar or something, it doesn’t get more specific than that. We don’t really learn what the magic is, but we do get the impression that the only way to destroy the clown is to destroy the egg. This is a great plot point and the sort of thing we don’t get enough of these days. There’s still a quest like element here , not just a bunch of set pieces.
The set pieces are great by the way. There’s a surprising amount of gore, combined with the tropes and whimsy that you would expect from a clown movie. It stops just short of being a horror comedy, but we certainly reach Hatchet or Evil Dead levels of absurdity in the violence.
My second feature was Grabbers. I’d heard this mentioned a year or so ago on the Horror Ect. podcast and it was one of those titles I just kept meaning to get to but never did. Stitches brought it back to mind and I’m glad I finally got around to it.
Curiously enough, this film plays it straight. It’s a stark contrast to Stitches in that, and really surprised me. The concept is that sea monsters are attacking a small Irish coastal town, and they attack people to drink their blood, but alcohol is poison to them. If ever there was a concept you’d expect to be played for laughs, this is it!
The first act is a bit slow. They take their time introducing the characters and actually try to create some back story here. When we finally see the creatures, they’re striking, but sadly also very CG heavy. The second act is heavily involved in detective work, trying to figure out what these things are and more importantly, where they come from.
The movie really does kick into high gear at the third act and it’s worth seeing. It’s a good film, but watching it I very much get the impression that it really would be better watched with a group.
I’m really enjoying what I’m seeing coming out of Ireland actually. These are both WELL made films despite the absurd premise. It’s refreshing and they really seem to remember what it’s like to make FUN horror. I’m curious to see more from the IFC and think I’ll be keeping an eye on these film makers as time goes by.