(Rubs eyes and back of his neck, lets out a long sigh) Early on in this movie, a line of dialogue is delivered (stiffly) by an actor playing a cop. The line is something to the effect of “I don’t like where this is headed”. THAT should’ve been my clear indication that I was about to get ass-fisted of 83 minutes of my life. Jingles the Clown, though having some redeeming aesthetic qualities, is your classic case of bad script and bad characters equaling a bad movie.
Angela Nelson witnessed her entire family murdered by a children’s television show host named Jingles the Clown. For some inexplicable reason, he doesn’t kill Angela. Fortunately for her, the mighty police show up and gun his ass down-but guess what?! He’s not dead!!! AAAAHHHH!!!! What a terrifyingly predictable scenario!!!! Cut to several years later, a paranormal activity crew heads into the infamous home to unearth some ghostly action, with Angela reluctantly in tow. Of course, while there with their video cameras and cliched characters (who are making another jerk-off Ghost Hunters type show) properly gathered, everyone finds out just how NOT dead Jingles is…and a mad camp romp ensues.
Oh, there are soooo many places I want to start from, but I feel compelled to start off by being fair: Not everything about this movie was deplorable. In fact, I was thoroughly impressed with the direction and look of the movie. Director Tommy Brunswick was careful to get the visual aspect of the film right. The set pieces are authentic and well staged. In fact, aesthetically speaking, I think Tommy Brunswick has a great eye for making a horror movie. He understood what a horror movie needs to look like and did his damndest to steer this thing into safe waters. But that goddamn script…
And this leads me to everything that is wrong with this movie. It doesn’t matter who your director is, what the studio is, or who the cast members are: If your story is shit, the movie doesn’t work-plain and simple. This is why this flick suffers. We’re bombarded with such hackneyed and stilted characters who you have zero empathy for, it’s difficult to care about the folks who you were meant to like. There’s no finer example than one of the most reprehensible characters I’ve seen in an indie horror film in years: Miranda (played by Virginia Bryant), the producer of the Ghost Hunters show they’re making, is unnecessarily bitchy throughout the entire film. She spends her entire on-screen time being loud, brash, and for lack of a better term, cunty. It’s a horrible character who you’re waiting to see die…and that goes for all the characters in the movie, unfortunately. Not a single one of the story’s main characters offers any sort of redeemable qualities. All the stereotypes are there: brooding/reluctant handsome guy, nice/ultra butch guy, aforementioned bitch, television quality gay man, tortured/beautiful victim (heroine..?), doofy ne’erdowell slacker, etc. They’re ALL here and they’re ALL hatable. And let us not forget that evil clown, Jingles. Yes, he’s a serial killing clown who has some sort of pact with the devil…or something? Though, I understood that the actor in this case was playing a sociopathic clown, thus requiring him to amp up the acting tenfold, this verged on obscene. Still, I can’t fault him for this. He’s playing a fucking clown!!! He had an excuse to go overboard. But the rest of this cast?! Eh, no reasonable explanation for that.
Unfortunately, everything about the script/story/characters is awful and forgettable. This movie just ends up a bust. There was plenty of potential here, having the right settings and look for a fun, campy movie. However, Tommy Brunswick’s direction wasn’t going to save us from a poorly executed script. Look and location don’t mean dick if the story’s not there…and this would be one of those cases. I can imagine we’ll see more from the director at some point, but let’s hope he’s doing it minus his story-challenged brother (?) who wants an audience to hate everyone who walks into frame. They can’t all be winners and I don’t expect them to be, but this is a warning to those of you who encounter a better-than-average-looking indie horror flick. It leads you down a road with no good outlet. Just a dead end drive to mediocrity.
Editor’s Note: Because I’m not a horrible person, I want to make it clear that I was not referring to the actress Virginia Bryant as cunty. I was however, calling the character that.