It's rare you see something truly unique in movies, especially in as saturated a genre as the apocalypse movie. Even the master of disaster Roland Emmerich can only blow up national landmarks in so many ways before it becomes same old, same old.
But you really haven't seen an apocalypse movie – or any movie, for that matter – like Apocalypse Clown.
Directed by George Kane and written by Shane O'Brien, James Walmsley and Demian Fox from Irish comedy band Dead Cat Bounce, Apocalypse Clown follows a trio of failed clowns who think they've got their chance to return to the spotlight when a solar event leads to mass electrical blackouts.
You'll have gathered by now that Apocalypse Clown is not a serious movie about the end of the world. The world might not even be ending, but it might as well be for Bobo (After Life star David Earl) who has decided to give up his clown nose as he thinks they're "obsolete".
He still goes along to the funeral of Jean DuCoque, considered to be the last great clown. There Bobo reunites with his nemesis, The Great Alphonso (Ivan Kaye), and his one-time lover Jenny (Amy De Bhrún), as well as meeting failed mime Pepe (Fionn Foley) and terrifying "street clown" Funzo (Natalie Palamides).
When the solar flare hits, they're all in jail as a result of a mass brawl with two human statues that Funzo angered. The next morning, they head out on the road to bring their talent to the masses.
Assuming, that is, they can stay one step ahead of the vengeful human statues.
Apocalypse Clown could work as a TV show rather than a movie as it's essentially a series of extended sketches. On their travels, the group encounter a commune in the forest, a muscly fast food chef and the surviving member of a boy band duo Bromanz (whose brother died in a gunge tank), among others.
However, it's also very funny and what it lacks in a deep story, it makes up for with invention and madcap energy. It's also incredibly silly (you'll lose count of "DuCoque" gags), but it's never stupid; it takes smarts to make silly gags land as well as they do here.
The script is strong and it's brought expertly to life by the excellent cast. David Earl is a perfect match for a depressed clown who's also wholly endearing, while Fionn Foley's comic timing is unmatched, even in asides that happen when the movie's already onto the next gag.
But they're both outshone by the fully-committed performance from Natalie Palamides as the Pennywise-esque Funzo. Funzo is totally deranged and hilarious, with Palamides turning even small moments, like removing her clown nose, into comic perfection.
Apocalypse Clown's main flaw is when it decides to split up the group to inject some drama into proceedings. Ivan Kaye's pompous The Great Alphonso and Amy De Bhrún's neurotic journalist Jenny are fun, but you will want to see more of the main trio and Funzo, in particular.
Thankfully it's a relatively brief diversion and everything comes back together for a suitably bonkers finale, including a showstopping clown trick needed to save the day, a slow-motion walrus fight (it makes sense, kind of) and a deadly gunge tank.
You'll end Apocalypse Clown knowing that you've seen something you haven't before – or likely will again. It's a singular and brilliant watch that turns the apocalypse into the best clown show in town.
Apocalypse Clown is available to watch now on Netflix UK.
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