DreadWorld Review: Clinger (2015)

Poor Fern Petersen (Jennifer LaPorte), after years of being an outcast, she finally has the boyfriend of her dreams. Or is he? As there relationship progresses, Robert (Vincent Martella) becomes rather clingy (woo hoo title reference!). After his omnipresence starts to interfere with her sanity, Fern decides it might be time to end it with him. But Robert has other plans. Those plans include a rather dangerous declaration of his love for Fern. Predictably, the stunt goes wrong and Robert ends up beheaded. Fern, thinking Robert dying could not have turned out better tries to move on with her life - until Robert shows up in ghost form deciding the only way for he and Fern to be together for ever is to kill her. That, as the kids say, escalated quickly.

As funny borderline horror parodies go, Clinger certainly has fun elements. It's not groundbreaking content, but it's certainly endearing enough to elicit a chuckle every now and then, but therein lies the main frustration with Clinger. It misses the mark just a little bit with everything it does to really be considered good. There are some good jokes, but the delivery and timing is awful. There is a character, your stereotypical high school christian girl, who unwittingly speaks in almost nothing but double entendres. Under normal circumstances that would be tired, but still pretty funny. But her punch line delivery is so off it ruins the jokes.

As a film with it's heart in the late 90's it isn't scary in the least. It's more equivalent to an ABC Family Halloween film than anything else. A decapitation, some blood spraying, (a misused) Debbie Rochon and (a blink and you'll miss her) Lisa Wilcox, are the only things that Clinger can punch on it's horror movie dance card. So if you are looking for something to throw on this Halloween to freak out your friends, Clinger isn't that film. If you are 14, you can probably pass this one past your parents on a Friday night if you have a couple friends over.

That being said, there are a couple cool, interesting, horror kernels to chew on. The idea that ghosts are all around us all the time, and one merely has to take a pill to see them is an interesting one, but is handled in such a ham-fisted way it undermines it's effectiveness. The mythology behind the way a "love ghost" haunts their past love ones, again an interesting idea - but extremely poorly executed. The way Robert is treated makes you wonder if he is a ghost at all. He certainly is not the typical floating apparition we are all used to. Again an interesting idea that goes absolutely nowhere.

One massive pet peeve - if you are going to use the fact that Fern runs track at her high school, at least understand how track practices and meets run. I was a high school/college harrier back in the day and can tell you, no one drops 5 seconds in their 400 meter time in a week. No one hosts a track meet with just one event and no other teams. No one practices in their meet uniform, and no track coach lives in a house the size of a mall. Rant over, it just feels like amateur hour during these scenes and that drives me crazy and totally removes the viewer from the films narrative.

Clinger is a film of "could have been's." It could have been funny. It could have been cute. It could have been clever. It could have added a new, interesting element to the ghost/haunting sub-genre. It could have used Debbie Rochon and Lisa Wilcox effectively. Unfortunately, it is none of these things. It is an inoffensive 2 in the afternoon on ABC Family during their Halloween Fest type of film. Clinger is the type of film that will make certain films feel rather old in that "When did Motley Crue become classic rock" way. With it's feet firmly planted in the mid to late 90's horror/comedy milieu its clearly bent towards the modern MTV generation and will not be for the more hardened veterans of the horror genre.

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