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Released 26 October 2012
Director Conor McMahon

Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Gemma Leah-Devereux
Writer(s) Conor McMahon, David O'Brien

Julianne Forde, Brendan McCarthy, John McDonnell, Ruth Treacy
Origin Ireland
Running Time 86 minutes
Genre Comedy, horror
Rating 16

A cut above average.

Slapstick horror – my worst nightmare! I honestly do not understand people that have such a strong fixation with the genre. The gore is almost always stupidly fake looking. The comedy, well, let's just say is usually non-existent. And dare I not forget the acting – I'm sure the strenuous casting process of, "you, you and you'll do too", handpicked in the alley outside some C-rated drama studio, is particularly taxing. Scholars out there will probably assure me that this, in actual fact, is the point. To which I'll reply that I'd rather severely gouge my own eyeballs than take another second of this drivel. Ironic much?

Anyway, not to ramble or anything but, to my own shock horror, I actually rather enjoyed Stitches.

Set somewhere in Ireland that seems to mix up all of its accents, the film begins with a children's birthday party gone wrong. After birthday boy Tom and his group of friends accidentally murder their hired clown, played by comedian Ross Noble, he has visions for the next six years of the red-nosed joker returning from the grave to seek revenge. Fast forward to Tom's teenage years and the group of former chums have all become dysfunctional in their own right, scarred from the scary outcome of that day. When outcast Tom decides to host another birthday party, his worst fears become a reality.

When the movie began, I had held my own worst fears. Quickly moulded together scenes with poor gags and a pathetic blood spurting moment almost put paid to any mild expectations I may have garnered. Yet, thankfully the kids are abandoned for adolescent actors and the story becomes gradually more enjoyable as it evolves. Of course, there are no misgivings as to what will eventually happen but that rarely seems of any major significance.

Indeed, the film is neither scary nor that funny. Rather than from the outlandishly grim deaths served out by the comic clown, which undoubtedly is supposed to provide chuckles but really, really doesn't, the laughs generally come from an amalgamation of cute writing, clever delivery and the use of swear words. Stitches doesn't really boast the aura of something that belongs in the cinema. It almost has the feeling of a satirised episode of the 1990s series The Demon Headmaster – and perhaps that is where it won me over.

- David Caulfield