By Steven Armour
An ultra-low budget and particularly outlandish Irish film, Stitches tells the unusual tale of how a vulgar kid’s party entertainer – played by Ross Noble – has a nasty accident at the hands of young Tom (Tommy Knight) and his friends during a birthday party, resulting in his cruel demise. Years later when Tommy and his childhood chums have grown up to become mean-spirited, hedonistic teenagers, and decide to throw the house party to end all house parties, Noble’s clown rises from his grave to settle some unfinished business.
One thing can certainly be said for Stitches – in its unabashed ridiculousness there is a lot of fun to be had. This film is the very definition of a black comedy, mixing elements of I Know What You Did Last Summer with A Nightmare on Elm Street, but with an aim to satirise the horror genre in a glorious mix of gore and droll one-liners. For the most part director
name/nm1114700/”>Conor McMahon succeeds in pulling off a unique, memorable entry into the genre. The direction is surprisingly stylish, and the script offers Noble the chance to play to his comic strengths. However, it is when the focus shifts away from Noble that the film visibly falters, and the limitations of its budget become hard to ignore.
With a cast comprised of unknowns, Stitches relies on Noble all too often to carry the film – although this is to be expected considering he is likely the main draw for most viewers. The young Irish actors making up the group of teens Noble’s clown terrorises aptly embody the callous, self-centered characters penned for them in the script, but one cannot help but question the mean-spiritedness with which almost all of the ‘typical’ youths are written. Still, it has to be said that for many of the young actors, making their big screen debut, they bring a refreshing honesty and charm to what could otherwise be banal characters.
Heavier on humour than horror, the main reason to give Stitches a chance is for the undeniably creative ways in which many of the teens meet their end – in brilliantly executed, excessively bloody death sequences. Commendation must be given to the special make-up and effects team who succeed in more than just grossing us out, providing an admirable example of just how well-done effects can be despite a restricted budget.
A B-movie in every sense of the term, Stitches offers a jarring experience that some may regret, but very few won’t find the humour in.