Clowntergeist, in the tradition of thing plus thing word mashups, this takes the cake (or ice cream?).
Written and directed by Aaron Mirtes, this horror/comedy tries very hard to spin many plates and only keeps a few in the air, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a three ring circus. Throughout there are waves of feverish references to many franchises, Saw, It Follows, Urban Legends, and It to name a few.
They aren’t terribly clumsy, but if you know these films you can pick out the nods easily. The issue here mainly is too much of a mythology without grounding through line.
Following housemates Emma and Heather, truly fleshed out female friends in an otherwise emotionally ethereal script, it is plain to see that both have a deep connection. Through this, we watch as Emma (Brittany Belland) slowly begins to lose her grip on reality as the clown begins to seemingly penetrate her dreams and waking life.
Heather (Monica Baker) tries her best to remain even keeled and be the best friend Emma needs in these bizarre and trying times. This is about the only thing ‘Clowntergeist’ sticks to with any consistency and it is thoroughly refreshing.
While Clowntergeist plays close to the vest, teasing out what is a very standard creepy clown, and then tacking together several strings of strange logic in order to give the story any meat, it is unclear whether this is earnest or presented as an avant-garde take on what we traditionally expect of a horror film.
Depending on which side of the line you fall in favoring a bit of hammy silliness, Clowntergeist might just be the film you need in your life, coulrophobia be damned.