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[Fantasia 2023] FILM REVIEW: Apocalypse Clown

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

Apocalypse Clown - Fantasia International Premiere

Director: George Kane

Starring: David Earl, Natalie Palamides, Amy de Bhrún, Fionn Foley

Written by: Damien Fox, George Kane, Shane O'Brien, James Walmsley

Produced by: Morgan Bushe, James Dean

Cinematography by: David Grennan

Original Score by: Stephen McKeon


When a mysterious technological blackout plunges Ireland into anarchy and chaos, a group of failed washed up clowns are forced to traverse the country for one last shot at their dreams.


Clowns are a very sensitive subject for people. Some people love them; find their own thing hilarious, the big shoes, the red nose, the magical cars that have room for 9 of their other clown mates. In general though, most people find clowns terrifying. Their giant monstrous feet, their blood red nose and their murder mobiles filled with 9 of their fellow serial killers. So, when it comes to film clowns aren’t always represented as comic figures, they’re almost always portrayed as the bad guys. In 'Apocalypse Clown' we follow a bunch of misfit clowns who must figure out how the world fell into an apocalyptic state overnight. Like I said, as the tradition goes, these clowns are unfunny.

David Earl stars as Bobo the clown, a sad sack who had fame ripped from him and is now taking terrible gigs. If you’re familiar with David Earl’s work with Ricky Gervais, you can pretty much guess what his character is going to be. A foul mouthed, sex pervert that everyone hates but for some reason, everyone puts up with because they see how sad he actually is. It’s shame to see Earl take a bit of a step back like this in his career after his brilliant turn in 'Brian and Charles' last year. His shtick grew old years ago and it really makes watching his character here a slog.

Fortunately for David Earl, everyone else in the cast is just as bad, apart from Fionn Foley (whose physical comedy is actually quite funny.) Natalie Palamides plays Funzo, a psychotic looking clown who doesn’t understand why she’s not liked. A premise that runs thin the second she opens her mouth and uses the most unbearable voice you’ve ever heard. Ivan Kaye, who I've found funny in the past, plays The Great Alphonso. A narcissistic fame whore who thinks he’s the best clown since Bozo; but yet again, Kaye is given nothing to work with, and is just forced to be this loudmouth for the majority of the film before it decides to make him the main villain in the final act.

The script is where the majority of the problems stem from. Not only is it criminally unfunny, but it’s also balancing on the set up for one final joke that makes the whole film pointless. The apocalypse angle is handled shockingly. From the actual story reasons (which are paper thin, and like I said, a set up for a final joke) to the production design of the end of the world are really poor. We are visually shown it’s the apocalypse by seeing 4 perfectly clean cars parked up with all their doors open and the street has some newspaper blowing through it. I couldn’t believe that a film with a half decent budget like this couldn’t be bothered to even make it look like the end of the world. I know it’s a comic, but if you’re going to the effort of making it a genre film, at least put some effort into actual making it look like a genre film.

I’m convinced that the film is only called 'Apocalypse Clown' because it sort of looks and sounds like 'Apocalypse Now'; but when you think about it for half a second, it looks and sounds nothing like 'Apocalypse Now'. Like the title, the jokes are often attempts at comedy. If you find curse words chuckle worth, you’ll love this but unfortunately, I'm not 9 years old anymore. While watching it, I was genuinely getting flashbacks of 'Da Mrs Brown’s Boy Movie', and that’s not a good sign for any film, especially not a comedy.

'Apocalypse Clown' is honestly painful to sit through. From its half-cooked plot to its dreadful attempts at comedy, I'd be surprised if I see a worst film than this in cinemas this year. So, pack it up and send in the clowns, but please not this particular set of clowns.

Verdict: ⭐️

- Adam Neeson

'Apocalypse Clown' received its International Premiere at Fantasia '23 on July 21st and will be released in UK cinemas September 1st.

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