JOKER CLOWN * USA 2019 Dir: Scott Jeffrey. 95 mins
After escaping a toxic relationship, Lane (Sarah T. Cohen) agrees to act as a surrogate for her stepbrother and his wife. After moving into a new apartment, she buys a clown doll as a gift for the baby—little does she know the doll is possessed, it’s pissed, and it’s ready to kill.
JOKER CLOWN doesn’t really deliver anything new in the possessed doll department, and after the opening scene there’s no more clown-related slaughter until halfway through the movie. Instead, we’re given 45 minutes of family drama—is Lane mentally sound? Is she healthy enough to have this baby? The people in her life instantly become unlikeable because they refuse to trust her.
When the doll finally starts his massacre, the horror just isn’t there. The film misses the mark with its sterile kills and lack of self-awareness. A series of mysterious phone calls from an unknown caller attempt to up the creep factor, but the phone was unplugged the entire time. I thought this was a hint towards Lane’s instability, but it turns out it’s just a distracting oversight.
It seems the filmmakers started this project with the intention of making a b-horror about a killer, 4-foot-tall clown doll—but lost the plot (literally) partway through development and ended up with a Halloween episode of THIS IS US.
Review by Julia Lynch