Apocalypse Clown (2023) – Film Review


Director: George Kane
Cast: David Earl, Natalie Palamides, Ivan Kaye

Certificate 15

By Roger Crow

Ireland is thrust into anarchy and chaos due to an enigmatic technological blackout. A rag-tag band of former disillusioned clowns embarks on a perilous journey across the country, seizing their final chance to pursue their long-lost dreams.

That’s the premise for Apocalypse Clown, which starts off well, with aerial tracking shots of Walking Dead-style carnage. However, when things come down to earth, so does the movie. With a bump. 

David Earl’s comic moments in Ricky Gervais’s Netflix saga Afterlife were hit and miss, but he later won much acclaim for the comedy Brian and Charles, and he does his best as Bobo, a disillusioned clown at the centre of the comedy and drama. 

But while it’s an interesting premise, some things are never meant to go together, like pineapple on pizza. Or clowns and doom-laden scenarios. 


“This offering falls apart”

Drunken foul-mouthed guys in clown make-up aren’t funny, or original, unless you have the brilliant writing and acting skills of Pemberton and Shearsmith in a show like Psychoville. And many of us are still traumatised by Stephen King’s Pennywise in all of his incarnations. 

Some experts believe that as many as one in 10 people suffer from Coulrophobia, so alienating 10 per cent of your audience on the one hand may seem like a bad move, but obviously it did no harm for blockbusters like It, and Joker. When a film is supposed to be a comedy, it’s a different story, and sadly this offering falls apart like a red-nosed rib-tickler’s automobile going over a hump-backed bridge. 

“Enough. This is the worst performance I have ever seen!” barks a Gallic clown tutor in the first few minutes as one of his students tries to deconstruct the clown trapped in a box routine. After encountering a potty-mouthed children’s entertainer, the creepiest ear-biting female clown you’ve ever seen, and the humdrum trapped-in-a-box moments, you may side with said French teacher. 

Director George Kane has a good film in him, but sadly this isn’t it. 

Though well shot, and with a decent cast, Apocalypse Clown is 20 minutes too long, woefully short on laughs, and may leave you feeling queasier than eating that mystery meat at the back of the fridge after a boozy night out. 

Apocalypse Clown is in cinemas from 1st September

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