FEARNET Movie Review: 'Stitches'



stitchesYou can see the DNA of several cool horror films in the recent Irish import known as Stitches. Its framework seems inspired by Prom Night (the 1980 original, not the witless remake); its tone and central conceit reminds one of the 1989 cult classic Killer Klowns from Outer Space; and the flick on the whole has a raunchy, visceral playfulness that evokes an endless variety of highly enjoyable but low-minded B-grade horror movies.
To make that a bit clearer: Conor McMahon's Stitches is not only a canny and clever homage to the slasher movie material we know and love, but it also strikes a surprisingly impressive balance between over-the-top gore explosions and nasty but highly amusing moments of comedy. Stitches is a horror flick first and foremost but it also works as a broad farce, an affectionate homage, and (at moments) a clever satire of all films in which stupid teens are in charge of saving the world.
We open with a broadly funny but ill-fated day for Stitches the Clown. He puts on an awful show for a collection of rotten little kids and then he ends up impaled on a butcher's knife. Flash forward about ten years and the rotten little kids have grown up into rotten little teenagers who (very unwisely) plan another big birthday bash not far from where nasty ol' Stitches is buried.
I'll let you fill in the blanks, but suffice to say that Stitches isn't staying buried for very long. The explanation as to how this infernal clown can rise from the dead qualifies as one of the movie's coolest surprises, as do the numerous bizarre weapons that Stitches employs while killing teenagers in the most colorfully splattery ways imaginable. 

It's the flick's off-kilter (and decidedly adult) sense of humor that elevates Stitches beyond most indie horror fare, but it's the visual flair that gives the film some legitimate personality. For a goofy little horror/comedy that's hardly the most original flick you've ever seen, Stitches does manage to mark a little territory of its own while also paying homage to "killer clowns" from years past.

I'm still waiting for a clown-related horror film that's well and truly "scary," but in the meantime there's always room for enthusiastic and creative goofiness like Stitches. As broad and silly and goofy as the movie is, it takes some legitimate skill to stretch a concept like this into feature length; McMahon and company have done a fine job of it.