Stitches (2012)

Stitches is a ludicrously gory horror that struggles a little with an identity crisis but proves to be worthy of your time.

Having met an unfortunate demise at young Tom (Tommy Knight)’s birthday party, Stitches the clown (Ross Noble) comes back to life to wreak vengeance at a teenage Tom’s party six years later.

“Here we go again with another clown based horror” is the initial thought as the film kicks off but thankfully Stitches is a cut above the rest. It delivers an uncomfortable atmosphere from the outset and makes imaginative and creative use of the clown character, cleverly bringing in the history of clowning.

The young cast are amiable throughout and the characters entertaining enough that you will engage with them. You are left with the feeling that the set was a great place to be and everyone involved wanted to make the best film they could.  It’s the performances that carry the piece and elevate the film above the ‘DTV trash’ status that similar horrors are often labelled with.

It’s not all plain sailing though. The main issue is with the tone it tries to set, whilst there are obvious attempts at black comedy, at times the film just doesn’t know what it wants to be.  One would assume that in casting Ross Noble, comedy was the intention and, whilst there is nothing wrong with his performance, it is a times a little too nasty for its own good.

Mention has to be made of the levels of gore on display here, heads explode and genitalia is ripped off but the filmmakers have bitten off a little more they can chew. Whilst the effects aren’t terrible, they aren’t fantastic either. Credit to the team for not settling on cheap CG but if the gore had been scaled back a little, the shortfall in the budget would not have been so evident.

Despite the film’s problems it’s still worth a watch and it’s much better than it has any right to be. What, with Ross Noble and the extreme levels of gore, this has potential to garner a huge cult following, don’t rule out a sequel!

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