Conor McMahon’s Stitches (2012) is British comedian Ross Noble’s film debut. Though similar in ways to the anarchic Funny Man (1994)—where the puerile humor is likely to repulse—Stitches’ grossness will have you doubled up with laughter.

Stiches (Noble) is a down on his luck clown, scraping together a living performing magic at spoiled kid’s birthday parties. One day, a group of kids violently forces him off stage. Several years later, the same kids are celebrating another birthday in a typically debauched, teenage way. Midway through the party, an old friend decides to make an appearance: hungry for revenge, Stiches has some new tricks up his sleeve.

Forget subtlety. Stitches is an in-your-face, over-the-top exercise in crassness with no pretense; the film is aware it’s not sophisticated and this is the reason it works. Some horror films hide their nastiness behind a social conscience or moral agenda. Stitches celebrates its uncompromised indulgence in carnage and mayhem with no apology.

The young cast, led by Tommy Knight and Gemma-Leagh Devereux, are excellent as the misfortunate, drug addled adolescents, while Noble plays the foul-mouthed, prankster ghoul disgustingly well. Ultimately, however, it’s the inventive murders, which are committed using a vivid array of unlikely hardware (an ice-cream scoop and an umbrella included), that make this party a rager.

By Cleaver Patterson

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