Film Reviews

[Review] Clowning Around: Scott Jeffery’s ClownDoll

Director: Scott Jeffery | Writer: Scott Jeffery | Released: October 21, 2019 | Run Time: 1h 33min


I love finding cool indie horror films on streaming services. As I browsed the new horror films on Prime Video, I came across ClownDoll. It’s a British indie horror film about a clown doll. It’s also about Lane (Sarah T. Cohen) who is helping her brother, John (Jon-Scott Clark) and his wife Lisa (Kelly Juvilee), have a baby through surrogacy. She is in the third trimester of her pregnancy, so she’s stressed and she’s grown attached to the baby. John and Lisa buy Lane a new flat to live in so she can be closer to them. It’s a bit creepy, but understandable given the surrogacy thing. Lane had been living with her mom for reasons left for a reveal later in the film. 

Lane buys a creepy life-sized clown doll from a small shop in town. Weird things start happening in her flat. Did the clown doll move? Things like that gives me the chills, and it’s exactly why I don’t own dolls. Inanimate objects like dolls becoming animate is nightmare fuel. I think Poltergeist was the film that made me scared of clown dolls. ClownDoll is also a psychological horror film surrounding mysterious murders. She starts getting weird phone calls from a guy she’s never met. People start going missing after having visited Lane at her new flat. The police start coming around, questioning Lane about the disappearances.

Lane has a history of mental illness. Her brother starts to suspect she might be in another downward spiral, the last one causing a riff in the family. She tries to tell people about the random phone calls, but when they listen to the house phone it’s just static. Her brother and the local police believe she is crazy. Lane checks her call log, but nothing comes of it. No calls were made to her flat from a random number. People think she may have gone mad, but she remembers the caller’s name and performs a quick Internet search to find out who it is. The payoff was pretty good. I liked the twists and turns along the way, but it’s the ending that stays with you.

The acting was pretty good, but the dialogue felt forced and choppy. Lane and the clown doll stole the show. There wasn’t enough backstory for any of the characters, so I couldn’t get fully invested in them. I did feel some empathy for Lane, though. I wanted her and the baby to get away from the flat. She really is a great final girl. The bodies do pile up, there’s a few kills in the movie, but they mainly occur off screen, which is kind of a let down. From the opening scene to the end credits, the dread keeps building with each kill. I feel like the main character, Lane, was written into a corner where there’s no chance of escaping the hell around her. ClownDoll is bleak as hell.

If you like your horror psychological and supernatural with clowns, then this movie is right up your alley. Would I watch ClownDoll again? I would. It’s worth a watch.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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