Ever wondered what it’s like to try and break up with someone, only to have them die in a gruesome accident and then proceed to haunt you as a ghost? Well, that’s exactly what Gabi Chennisi Duncombe, Bubba Fish and director Michael Steves, seemed to have asked themselves, and the answer is this strangely charming, strangely funny supernatural horror film ‘Clinger‘. The film follows Fern Petersen, a high schooler who thought she ended up in the perfect relationship when she met Robert Klinger. However, his incredible clingy-ness proves to be too overwhelming, and she tries to break it off with him, only to have him die in a wonderfully grisly accident. What follows next is a serious of sinister events as his lovesick ghost reappears and decides to kill her so that the two of them can be together for all eternity.
First love never dies
‘Clinger‘ was totally not what I expected it to be from the title, and perhaps the premise of the film. I don’t usually do well with horror films, but this was a tongue in cheek and often really amusing (and somewhat sad) story. It seems that the writers tried to see how far they could push aspects of the story, and despite some parts being completely ridiculous, I felt that the premise worked. There were scenes that were making me laugh out loud, and other’s that were genuinely heartfelt. The dialogue is a little cheesy at times, but it’s pulled off well by the cast. Despite the serious undertones, some of the characters were completely larger than life, and one or two had me laughing at every appearance. The second half of the film goes for a slightly darker tone, as the initial premise starts to come into effect, and the things that seem kinda innocent during the first half, take a more sinister form. However, it still manages to retain it’s humour, and even though Robert is trying to kill his ex-girlfriend, you still can’t help but chuckle. There were a couple of surprises though, and amidst the silliness, there are some genuinely sad and serious moments. The showdown at the of the film is both tense, and utterly absurd, making it my favourite part of the film. Seriously, I thought I’d seen everything…seems not.
The cast do a really great job in this film. I don’t think there’s a weak link amongst them. Jennifer Laporte is good as the lead Fern, coming into her own during the film’s later half. Vincent Martella does a really good job of playing the awkward Robert, going from the helplessly in love teen, to being really creepy and sinister ghost who will do anything to keep Fern with him. As far as main characters go, they’re oddly relatable teenagers (except for the supernatural stuff of course), and I found them both really endearing, even though I probably would have run a mile away from Robert as soon as the month anniversary celebration. Some of the supporting cast are fantastic as well, particularly Alicia Monet Caldwell as the track team coach, who was a scene stealer for me and Shonna Major as Fern’s best friend, with some of the greatest innocent innuendos I’ve ever heard on screen. The characters are exaggerated versions of the horror stereotypes we’re used to seeing, but they all work, and no one seems out of place. All of the actors involved look like they’re having great fun with the script and with the premise, and I think this is one of the films strongest points.
The soundtrack was generally pretty good, with some great pieces that helped boost the atmosphere. There were a couple of songs that were pretty cheesy (sometimes it felt like I was watching a teen romance film rather than a supernatural horror), but they strangely work and help to set the mood of this tongue in cheek yet sinister film. The camera work was also great, helping to set up some really great shots, as well as some interesting ‘perspective’ shots from the ghost that make some of the scenes really strange. Overall, for a film of this size, I thought the special effects were on point, and the gore effects were spot on – borderline disgusting but oddly amusing at the same time. It’s obvious that the special effects team had fun with this one, going all out for an over the top feel that works great within the film’s tone.
All in all, I found ‘Clinger‘ to be a really enjoyable watch. It doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, which is definitely part of the film’s charm, and it’s often cheesy script is both light hearted and funny. Of course, if you’re looking for a seriously scary or haunting horror film, then this probably isn’t your best bet. The film itself isn’t particularly frightening, and I’m an easy scare, so if you want jumps and things to freak you out then this isn’t the one. If you want a fun, gruesome and entertaining laugh then this is the film for you. It’s a premise that I think wouldn’t work as well on a higher budget – it’s ‘unhollywood-ness’ is what gives it it’s charm. Because it has bags of that. Gory, blood soaked bags. And whilst it’s not the best in it’s field, it’s a good laugh. Don’t take it too seriously.
Clinger is in Cinemas and On Demand October 23