25th Nov2015

‘Clinger’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Vincent Martella, Jennifer Laporte, Julia Aks, Shonna Major, Alicia Monet Caldwell, Taylor Clift, Leah Henley, Paulie Deo Jr., Rebecca Gail, Jeffrey Bean, Debbie Rochon, Lisa Wilcox, Sewell Whitney, Victoria Villarreal | Written by Michael Steves, Bubba Fish, Gabi Chennisi | Directed by Michael Steves

clinger-cast

Horror film come bizarre love story, Clinger follows high schooler Fern Petersen whose possessive high school boyfriend dies in a gruesome accident on the same night she breaks up with him. As if that wasn’t enough turmoil, things go from bad to worse when he returns as a love-sick ghost, initially intent on wooing her once more. But the course of true love never runs smoothly, especially when you’re a headless ghost, which leaves Robert with no choice but to kill Fern so the two can be together… for eternity!

Romantic comedies about unrequited love are hard to get right. Romantic horror comedies are even harder to get right. In both cases the character doing all the requiting can often come off as creepy and unlikeable. But what if said character was dead? Wouldn’t that automatically make him or her creepy and unlikeable? You’d think so. But in the case of Clinger, it doesn’t begin that way…

Starting out life as something of a geeky romance, a la the John Hughes films of the 80s, Clinger turns into a hilarious mish-mash of genre tropes: slasher movie, ghost story, comedy and even action-adventure flick; and whilst that could – in the wrong hands – become something of a mess, thanks to a tight script and some inspired directorial choices, this ghostly romantic comedy hits all the right notes: both comedically and horrificially.

In fact the mix of genres is very reminiscent of the kinds of horror comedies I grew up watching: Fright Night, Gremlins, Night of the Creeps. You know the ones. Those that walk that fine line between the two genres, striking a perfect, yes perfect, balance. And that ending? When Fern and her gym coach go head to head with a ridiculous gaggle of the undead? It screams Ghostbusters. And not in a cheap knock-off way – instead it’s a brilliant homage to the king of ghostly rom-coms.

It also helps that Clinger has a fantastic central cast. Vincent Martella and Jennifer Laporte (pictured above) – who play Robert and Fern respectively – give performances that are honest and real, they portray their relationship in a way that reminds everyone of their first loves, even if the film is also populated with gory beheadings, supernatural horror and demonic teddy bears!

**** 4/5

An stunning debut feature,Clinger is on limited release across the US now from Paragon Releasing. The film comes to DVD in the UK on February 1st courtesy of Matchbox Films/Solo Media.

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