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STUDIO: Genius Products
RATED: NOT RATED
RUNNING TIME: 89 Minutes
• Making of Final Draft
• Music Video
• Theatrical Trailer
• Trailer Gallery
Director Jonathan Dueck
serves up Final Draft, a dish of solitary madness and despair. It’s served cold, and is lightly seasoned with hobos, nightmares,
and melty-faced clowns. Can he start you
off with something to drink?
James Van Der Beek, Darryn Lucio,
Tara Spencer-Nairn, Julia Schneider, Jeff Roop, James Binkley
James found his new Invisobaby™ to be just as lovable as a regular, visible baby, despite all of the bad reviews he’d read about them on CNET.
Paul Twist, whose last
name might prove to be surprisingly prescient, is a down-and-out screenwriter
who lives alone in a studio apartment.
His writing career is in the crapper, his wife has left him, and his
best screenplay idea is about a murderous clown-ghost. His successful actor buddy David gets him a
meeting with a producer to sell Paul’s clown-ghost horror script, but- here’s
the catch- he hasn’t written it yet. The
meeting’s in 18 days. Since he’s a
stunted, noodle-spined hipster without any sense of drive or purpose, Paul
decides that the only way he can avoid distraction enough to finish the script
in time is for David to lock him inside his studio apartment for 18 days.
While he’s locked in his apartment, cabin
fever sets in. To get his creative
juices flowing, he decides to write important people from his past into his
script as unwilling participants.
Slowly, the line between reality and fiction is shattered, and Paul
starts having visions of these familiar characters inside his apartment. At first, these characters torment him, but Paul
exacts therapeutic revenge by having the clown-ghost villain of his script kill
them one by one. The method? The ghost knocks them out using a sack of
oranges (Naranjas de Muerto!) and stages their deaths as suicides. Paul eventually loses control of the menacing
clown, with deadly results. We all
remember rule number one about losing control of your psycho clown ghost: JUST DON’T!
Roger was one hell of a lawyer for Bamburger and Bamburger. He’d brought in dozens of clients from around the world, and he’d only lost three cases in the last four years. He’d be damned if he was ever going to change his business card into something more "traditional".
“If they can put a man on the
moon, then why can’t they make a good movie about a homicidal clown? And no, I don’t consider It to be good.”
are fertile ground for horror, but we’ve yet to see a clown killer the likes of
Myers or Kreuger. Will Final Draft’s
Punchy the Clown fill the void? Sadly, Jack’s
wish continues to go unfulfilled, as Final Draft is neither a good movie nor
about a homicidal clown. It’s a dull
film about loneliness and suicide, and it feels very much like a well-financed
student project than anything else. Why
does it feel student-y? Because a good
20% of the film’s dialogue takes place at a coffee shop, and because of this exchange, which I’m paraphrasing out of laziness:
Paul: That’s so Pedantic.
David: Jeez, what does Pedantic
It’s a writer word, not an actor word.
No. No, it isn’t.
Pedantic is a high school graduate word, not a “writer word.” Also, there’s an unintentionally funny scene where Van Der Beeks’ Paul invokes Shakespeare, as he tries to explain to
David how he’s going to survive his 18 days of isolation:
Paul: I could be bounded in a
nutshell, and count myself king of infinite space.
to writers: quoting famous lines from Hamlet does not intellectualize your
character. Instead of making him sound
intellectual, Paul sounds like he just finished the Shakespeare unit in Ms. Plimpton’s
5th period English.
Judging by the box art, this one’s being
marketed as a clown-horror, but don’t be fooled: “Punchy the Clown” stays on
the sidelines for most of the film, and isn’t even what I’d call a villain. In fact, I get the impression that Draft
was never meant to be a horror film. It
has “descent-into-madness thriller” written all over it, and has more in common
Away than it does with Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The first 45 minutes are largely spent
watching Paul mope and complain to actor buddy David, who constantly says the
word fucking (Because that’s what cool Hollywood types do, see? Once you hit it big, it’s all swears, all the
time!). After Paul’s self-imposed
isolation, he spends the rest of the film pacing around and arguing with
imaginary characters. It’s anything but
frightening. Hey, you know the old
horror “dream-scare” cliché, right? Here’s one possible scenario: A man wakes up in bed. He turns to his partner to find that she’s
missing her face. Perhaps it was stolen!
He screams. Cut to the same man
sitting up in bed, drenched in sweat, realizing that the horrible event was
just a dream. We get about 15 of these
dream-scares in this film, and they all feel shoehorned in as if a producer
said “Hey, we’ve got this piece of crap, and we don’t know how to market
it. How about we ‘spooky it up’ a bit-
you know, throw in some cobwebs, skeletons, and scary dreams- so we can sell it
as horror?” Top it off with some
cleverly misleading tag lines and a mutilated clown on the DVD cover, and we’re
looking at a horror film that’s not really a horror film.
Tragically, Jinxie was unaware of Dhalsim’s fear of clowns, and the price was his face.
The film’s first half shambles
aimlessly. Paul doubts he can write the
script. Paul strikes out with the coffee
shop waitress. Paul cuts out pictures of
his friends and puts them on the wall.
Paul watches old home movies.
Paul, why in the hell did anyone write a movie about you? Maybe you should join the Navy. Interestingly, Paul’s hallucinations don’t
add much excitement to his boring life.
He argues with the hallucination of his ex wife about why they never had
kids. He bickers with the hallucination
of his ex best friend. He argues with
the hallucination of an old high school bully (the bully plays loud music
in the living room, and Paul tells him to “turn down that racket”). When we get to the point where Paul is
finding ways for “Punchy the Clown” to kill off his characters, things get a
little more fun. The imaginary
characters are aware that they’re only imaginary characters, and since Paul
knows this as well, it creates an interesting dynamic between the puppet master
and his victims. It’s too bad that
creating “imaginary characters” is the laziest and most trite way to show a
character going insane.
The film left me with several questions, such
as: why does “Punchy the Clown” insist on staging elaborate suicides for his
victims? It just seems like a lot of
trouble to go through for a ghost. I
mean, I can understand regular, non-ghost clown-killers staging murders as
suicides, since it might help them avoid getting caught. I guess it makes sense, though, since if the
authorities ever found out that Punchy was the culprit, they’d have to invent
all kinds of new ghostbuster-like jail cells and court procedures. Punchy’s just trying to save everyone the
Another question: Paul has one friend. Paul’s hobbies include drinking coffee alone,
drinking coffee with his friend, and occasionally going to the store. Why did he lock himself in? Where was he going to go? He wasn’t a party animal- he was just
lazy. Why did he think locking himself
in would make him less lazy? It just
seems like more of a fire hazard than anything else.
Pointless questions aside, Final Draft
doesn’t have much to offer. The script
isn’t well written, and the film is unappealingly gloomy, plodding, and almost no fun at
all. Van Der Beek does pretty well given
the material, and the ending is unsettling, if still very predictable. For those of you who want it spoiled, Final Draft ends with Van Der Beek’s Paul finishing his screenplay but losing his
struggle with his inner clown demon, as he kills himself by slicing his wrist
with barber scissors (or…did PUNCHY do it?). Luckily for us, we
don’t hear him say “To be, or not to be.”
a production this small, there’s a surprising amount of stuff. We get a ‘making of’ documentary, a music video, and a theatrical trailer. We also get a
great set of horror trailers for low-budget schlock like the Swedish vampire
which looks like fun. There’s also a
trailer for the new Lukas Haas direct-to-DVD vehicle Cradle. Father time has not been kind to poor Lukas.
The box art is misleading. The giant, menacing clown head suggests clown
terror, of which there is very precious little in this film. Still, melted clown face is always
disturbing, and it’s not like the clown never shows up in the film at all, so points for that.
Wolverine’s cousin Rusty wasn’t nearly as popular or effective, since:
A) In order to kill, he needed to hug his victims, and:
B) He was a coward.
4 out of 10