Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
This Halloween, a peaceful town finds itself thrown into chaos, its residents now being relentlessly terrorised by a seemingly unstoppable army of sentient killer clamps (British viewers, think giant crocodile clips). With the mayor unwilling to listen and the much-anticipated office supplies convention just days away, it’s up to police chief Foster (Scott), the super-smart Dr. Lady (Bailey) and girl next door Bonnie (Clare) to save the day.
As ridiculously awesome as that premise may sound, sadly hammer-horror send-up Clamps currently only exists in the form of a tightly woven and highly entertaining satirical trailer for a film that to date, hasn’t transpired. It does run quite a bit longer (nearly six minutes) and goes quite a bit deeper into itself than a trailer typically would, so at times it feels instead like it actually lands somewhere between a trailer and proof of concept piece.
And this is really the only point where this otherwise finely-tuned project finds itself somewhat caught with a foot in separate doorways; the film tries to pace itself in the same way as your standard trailer, with big impactful moments and quick jumps from one narrative point to the next, but with many more of those jumps to make before it can take its bow, it is forced to reveal much more of its overarching narrative (perhaps even two-thirds) and create more of those big moments than we would typically see and starts to give a bit too much away especially towards the end as it begins to unwrap its mythos, before ending not so much in the way a trailer would but more the way the penultimate episode in a television series might with its tantalising cliff-hanger.
But in the grand scheme of things, that is a minor quibble perhaps brought on most likely by a simple burning desire for more, and one must absolutely remember the clear ambition of this particular short (which was probably and deliberately never to be fully realised as a complete feature sadly), was to entertain and boy does it.
There is no denying how well-executed this project is pretty much from top to bottom. It fully captures the instantly recognisable look and feel of the genre its lovingly poking fun at, complete with its grungy, grainy dark camera aesthetic, spot-on eery and piercing score and just the right level of gory practical effects. The script is well-written, funny without ever falling into over-the-top parody or jarring stupidity and fully realised as splendidly as you’d want by a cast of actors where everyone commits to their parts one hundred percent; one can only imagine the fun that was had behind the scenes, enjoyment that ultimately projects itself fully onto its audience.
Taking aim at all the B horror movie cliches and silliness we have come to love and loathe and love again over the years, Bailey and Scott have clearly demonstrated not just a deep affection for this genre and desire to really do it justice with this utterly enjoyable homage, but also that they are fully adept filmmakers with an eye for story and detail and know how to leave an audience craving for more. And if there is a Clamps movie somewhere far on that horizon, I’m ready for it.