By Laurie Coker
Gag! Everything in Gags the Clown is rotten. Taking the hand-held camera production approach does nothing to bring terror or entertainment to this half-baked, horror flick, now available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime. Director and co-writer, with John Pata, Adam Krause fails miserably at the found-footage genre, but not as abysmally as his C-level cast fails to deliver believable performances.
Green Bay, Wisconsin is all abuzz with sightings of a sinister-looking clown carrying a handful of black balloons, filled with a mysterious powder-like substance that causes people to self-mutilate – weird but not frightening. News reporter, Heather Duprey (Lauren Ashley Carter) and her cameraman are charged with covering the story and video-podcaster, Charles Wright (Aaron Christensen) wants to up his viewer counts by hunting down and killing Gags. Meanwhile, a group of mischievous teens, one dressed as a clown, spend the night trying to scare people (never a good idea) and a couple of patrol cops deal with the mess of it all.
Gags shows up in some pretty scary places – a parking garage, a carnival, railroad tracks and finally, a creepy old abandoned building. Unfortunately, he is not frightening in the least. Images of him merely standing and presumably staring do nothing to prickle the hair. Sadly, his acting outshines the others. To be fair, the script provides little with which to work, and the found-footage filming annoys more than it builds suspense. Foul language flows from the characters like a torrent, tormenting the ears the way Gags is supposed to be tormenting the city.
Listed as a comedy/horror, the only notable humor in the movie comes from laughing at the asininity of it all. Even this diversion gives Gags the Clown more credit than it deserves. Its short run time of an hour and twenty-nine minutes seems an eternity. Krause misses every one of the nuances that make films in this genre entertaining. He offers up no horror and no humor, and the end result earns an F-, but only since it can earn lower. A sliver of comedy happens in the film’s final explosive moments– fast-forward to that.