Ginger Nuts of Horror
Nothing is scarier than your first love
John Paul Young was famously sang that "Love was in the air", but if love is anything like the love shown in this rom-phantom-com I'd be stocking up on air fresheners. Director Michael Steves’ Clinger is a blood soaked, love gone totally wrong horror comedy that shows that it isn't love that survives beyond the grave but a deep and deadly obsession.
When high school track star Fern Peterson, falls for the charms of high school student Robert Klingher ( see what they did there) it looks as though her life is complete. She is a rising star in the track, and with a hopeful running scholarship to MIT and a boyfriend who dotes on her at every opportunity things should be perfect, shouldn't they?
Sadly Klingher's obsession with her soon begins to grate on her, the montage of her growing irritation is one of the highlights of the film, to the point that she decides to dump him. What she doesn't know is that Robert in his typical over the top creepy way has created a stage to proclaim his love for her, complete with heavy swing sign. So when she decides to dump him just as he pulls the lever his shock and awe at being dumped results in him getting caught up in the mechanics of the stage and is rather quickly decapitated.
But as we all know love is eternal. and love will find a way. Initially everything seems OK their love is rekindled, may be their love will be eternal, but thanks to Klingher's constant interference in her life she decides to end it once again, telling him "It's not that you are dead, it's that I'm alive" at which point Klingher comes to the conclusion that the answer to his love problems is just that. So he proposes to make their love eternal by killing her. Faced with a horror from beyond the grave Fern must turn to her friends and a former ghost hunter, who just happens to be (well you will have to watch it to find out) to fight back against the cold clammy hands of ghost love.
Clinger on the whole is very good film, the central performances are great, in particular Vincent Martella's performance as the ultimate sad puppy in love is particularly creepy. Even before he turns full into the spirit of spurned love his actions and demeanor sends a shiver down your spine. He is so close to the line that separates love from a crazed body in the cellar stalker, however it is when he transforms into total crazy that his performance comes into its own. Jennifer LaPorte's performance is the perfect counterfoil to Martella's creep filled one. From her wonderful expressions of growing disdain towards Klingher in the montage scene is a joy to watch, to her transformation of scared school girl into an all out action ghost fighting heroine is a very believable transition.
Supporting our two main leads is a great cast of supporting actors, special mention must be given to Julia Aks who plays Fern's gormless and directionless sister. It was refreshing to have this type of character as a female, these goofy too stupid to survive on their own sort of roles are normally exclusively played by chubby loveable idiots.
Clinger is a film that suffers from not being sure what it wants to, which is a huge pity, as mentioned above on the whole it is a very good film, but it is hampered from being an excellent film by it's lack of identity. Is it a rom-com, is it a horror, is it a horror comedy, is it meant for teenagers or is it meant for a more adult audience?
In many ways the casting of the lead roles is a major factor in its lack of a strong identity, the actors just feel too young or a more mature audience. You can't help but feel like a dirty old man when they finally decide to consummate their love for each other, this isn't a fault of the actors, it's more down to the scene itself. The addition of this scene while funny in its conclusion just feels unnecessary, it adds to the films confused persona.
Another reason for the films confusion is the humour on show, it more than anything suffers from a multiple personalty disorder. There is too much of a Nickelodeon feel to it, in fact for a great deal of the film it could have been a Halloween special of I-Carly. It then swings rather uncomfortably into a more adult style of comedy.
Now don't get me wrong, this makes it sound as though the film isn't very good, which would be unfair to it. Clinger is a good film with a great film desperate to break out from inside of it. There are plenty of genuine laugh out moments, the killer teddy scene in the bedroom is brilliant as is the finale on the football pitch, that sees Fern and her motley crew of ghostbusters wannabees. The overly desperate to be best friend friend is also comedy gold. It is just a pity that they didn't keep the film on this comedy track.
As for the horror, it is suitably gruesome, from decapitations, to heads falling off at rather in appropriate times the makers don't shy away from blood and gore. In the main the horror elements are handled in a great tongue in cheek manner. And despite the rather poor special effects of the killer teddy there is still huge sense of warm affection for the genre.
Clinger may not be in the same league as Shawn of The Dead, but to be honest not many films do, but it is a highly watchable film that despite it's confused state will still raise a fair few chuckles, one or two real laugh out loud moments, and a good number of shocks.
Ahead of it's October 23 theatrical release, a new TV spot for the award winning horror-comedy Clinger has been released
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