STITCHES Blu-ray Review
Conor McMahon’s Irish horror comedy Stitches is pretty much exactly what you expect from a movie about a killer clown. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just a mostly middling affair that has its moments and will appeal to those who don’t take their horror movies too seriously. So, you know, not me.
The film opens with the titular clown having sex with his girlfriend who, between thrusts and squeaking noises, inquires about the egg with Sitches’ face painted on it. After mostly dismissing it, he quickly departs to a birthday party filled with petulant children who inadvertently cause his death by a poorly placed butcher knife to the face. Six years later, the birthday boy throws yet another party, and thanks to a little bit of clownish black magic, Stitches returns to get revenge.
Stitches acknowledges its goofiness with bright red blood, mildly amusing and inventive deaths with a high gross-out appeal that utilize practical effects over CGI; it’s never meant to be more than a self-aware slasher that knows precisely how ridiculous it really is. At one point Stitches takes off his nose and places it on the ground, whereupon it becomes a sentient being that sniffs out those who wronged him in the past. At one point it stumbles upon a cat, and while the scene was not meant to be taken as anything more than absurd, windmilling the cat against a bed frame was little more than egregious animal cruelty that might offend.
The rest of the gore was equally as tasteless and always tongue-in-cheek: one meets his fate as he’s gorging himself on canned food in a pantry, his brains literally being scooped out with an ice cream scoop; another has his guts pulled out and made into a balloon animal before his head is blown up with a balloon pump; and another has his head kicked right the Hell off. Each death is followed by a tacky quip or one-liner that elicits little more than a cock of the head and an eye roll. While a darker direction might better satisfy those with a predilection toward horror rather than comedy, McMahon’s flair for humorous dialogue (a stereotypically gay character telling a girl off with “Babes, you’re just a pigeon in a tacky frock” had me laughing my ass off) and wildly unique characters often offsets the mostly cartoonish gore that renders the film more comedy than horror.
Through it all, Stitches never tries to be anything more than it really is, and that’s goofball horror with a flair for the grotesque. It might not work for everyone – especially me – but its intent should be acknowledged. Fans of old school slashers and horror comedies should have a field day with this one. I didn’t.