Online screener version
Written and directed by MJ Dixon
Stars:Georgie Smibert, Gemma Louise Troughton, Paul Rogers, Jessica Michelle Smith, Holly-Anne Dodkins, Kimberly Lasi, Matthew Baunsgard, Derek Nelson, Olivia Krys, Jimi James, Ben Manning
Its always a pleasure to hear from the talented folks over at MYCHO who have been making independent horror features in the UK for many years now. 2016 slasher thriller Cleaver: Rise of the Killer Clown explored the back story of the titular maniacal clown first seen in the claustrophobic fright fest Slasher House (2012).
In Cleavers the bloody nightmare expands to include a new set of victims, an important returning character from the previous film and even more terrifying clown action. From the official synopsis:
Jody Ann Howells, a survivor of the Still Rivers Massacre now working in Bail Enforcement, is on the trail of her latest perp, a young woman who is on the run after being found on the scene of a horrific murder, a young woman who may be connected to her past.
As Howells closes in on her she discovers that the killer she faced all those years ago may still be alive and kicking and he has his sights on a family making a cross country road trip, only this time he's not alone.
One thing that MJ Dixon does incredibly well and continues to do so in this film is feature different narrative strands that eventually come together. While returning actress Georgie Smibert as Jody-Ann Howells investigates a gruesome murder, a bickering and highly dysfunctional family are driving straight towards their worst nightmare. These characters on are course for collision, not just with each other but with the dreaded Cleaver and others.....
Cleavers gives a more action orientated angle to the original stalk and slash film (all though there is plenty of that still). Inspired by horror road trip movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, this movie gets the gore to go as blood is shed and alliances are tested on a horrifying journey. Much like the films that influence it only the strongest will survive and its not just the physical trials they are put through, there are some truly traumatic things that some of the characters are exposed to and it would be fascinating to see how their lives may have changed in a future film.
The creepy clown imagery present in Cleaver is cranked up a notch here which is great to see - if you hated clowns before this film will sadly not help you with that. There are some other grotesque surprises as well which gave me the creeps as the film barrels towards its conclusion. A job well done on the horror imagery! Of course with a movie titled as this is you can expect some nasty grue and gore and the special effects in this film are fun and practical.
I would also add that although not essential, its a good idea to watch Cleaver first as the back story of Carlton Layton (Cleaver) important and gives the viewer some insight into his relationships, particularly with one character which I don't want to spoil in any detail. Suffice to say murderous tendencies really do run in the family.
Finally can I just add that I truly love the MYCHO universe that MJ Dixon has built up over the past decade. He has put so much hard work and passion for the genre in creating a series of despicable killers, haunted heroes/heroines and twisted timelines which gives the opportunity to tell so many stories. There is also the potential for so many new stories within this dark and dangerous world. Having no idea where MJ and co may go next and with which character(s) is just part of the fun.
The film premieres at the Horror on Sea film Festival in Southend on Saturday 12th January 2019. Go and see it and support great indie horror! For more on MYCHO and how to buys their movies also check out their official website.