Film Review: ‘Gags the Clown’ (2018)

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Stars: Lauren Ashley Carter, Tracy Perez, Aaron Christensen
Director: Adam Krause
Distributor: Jinga Films

“If he is just a f*cking crackhead, he’s done very well for himself.”

Remember the clowns appearing from nowhere the other year? Well, hello the inspiration for Gags the Clown!

Set during one night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a man dressed as a clown randomly appears now and again much to the admiration and dismay of fans, a vigilante, news reporters, and the police. As we go further into the night, Gags appears once in a while, fuelling the intensity to gradually increase and increase as we begin to anticipate something happening… Except we don’t have a clue what could happen. Gags just stands there with his fancy black balloons. All that’s certain is that one person (Squall Charlson) within a group of teens is dressed as a clown, an imitator set out to spook people; an army veteran podcaster (Aaron Christensen) is big mad over such a sick and twisted individual; a news reporter (Lauren Ashley Carter) treats the clown sightings as low-brow nonsense; and a pair of cops (Tracy Perez and Evan Gamble) are out on patrol.

Gags the Clown can be viewed as a spectacle without much of note even happening. But instead, its presentation of found footage or recorded footage – everything from CCTV to police bodycam – establishes a real ambiance, thus an increased sensation of creepiness. The only downfall of this notion is that some of the footage can get tiresome, but this isn’t a consistent issue, thankfully, otherwise Gags the Clown would be almost unbearable to watch.

A film of an ensemble nature, Gags the Clown progresses as perspectives continually switch. We never follow the viewpoint or perspective of Gags. If anything, Gags is rarely on screen. Instead, with the viewer given an almost fly-on-the-wall presence, sometimes varying between first and second-person perspectives, the focal points of Gags the Clown can really be regarded as every character except Gags. Dependent on which character we are placed with, the tone of this film can switch between being a creepy and mysterious horror to a full-on satirical piece on American culture – the latter being totally unexpected when going into Gags the Clown. Because of that notion, there is legitimacy in regarding and reading this film as a black comedy – something, however, which could throw viewers or even disappoint, if they’re expectant of the routine slasher flick.

Ultimately, writer-director Adam Krause brings to the table a horror (black comedy), which manages to mix unexpected elements throughout, and successfully too. Whilst the approach of shifting the focus between the other characters does feel fresh, there is a discomfort in the lack of Gags. Then again, the lack of Gags consequentially establishes great debates over the titular character’s presence, relevance, and general creepiness. The little we know about Gags, the more interested we become.

A total creep-fest, Gags the Clown is now available on Blu-ray/DVD, and streaming in the UK via Amazon Prime. Many thanks to Jinga Films for the pleasure of this film.

3 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, Jinga Films, Fair Use

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