When Robert Klingher (Vincent Martella) charms Fern (Jennifer Laporte) into being his first girlfriend, he couldn’t be happier. In typical teenager fashion, he showers her with praise and gifts to a point of disgust. Just when she is about to break up with him, he accidentally beheads himself with an elaborate rig he built to profess his love for her. Robert returns as a ‘love ghost’, refusing to leave Fern alone and soon realizing the only way they can be together forever is if she dies as well.
Clinger is an uneven horror comedy with a lot of good ideas that ultimately don’t quite gel. It’s clear that writer/ director Michael Steves was going for a Beetlejuice meets Evil Dead kind of thing, but Clinger lacks the artistry and performances that made those films great. Much like the film’s innocent, excited Klingher, the filmmakers treat their first film like it’s their first girlfriend. They try to pack in so many jokes and gallons of gushing blood in a valiant effort to be loved but it’s ultimately a turn off.
One aspect of the film that does work nicely is several little animated bits, usually used in scenes requiring heavy exposition. These scenes could have made the cartoony special effects fitting if the movie were going for a younger demographic and didn’t include so much adult content throughout. Some of the crude jokes land, perhaps more would with the teenaged audience, but for festival audiences it will likely come off as too base.
screens Saturday, Jan 24, 10:30pm and Thursday, Jan 29, 11:00am