Clinger

Release: Friday, October 23, 2015 (limited)

[Vimeo]

Written by: Michael Steves, Gabi Chennisi, Bubba Fish

Directed by: Michael Steves


This review is my third contribution to Mr. Rumsey’s Film Related Musings. I’d like to thank James for providing me the opportunity to take a look at this film.


Clinger tells a story about an obsessive young man who, after losing his life in embarrassing fashion, comes back to haunt his girlfriend by insisting that the two were destined to be together forever. And ever.

Intended to be a fresh entry into the rapidly expanding subgenre of horror-comedy, the film is decidedly more of a comedy tinged with horror elements, featuring absurd performances, brutally silly killings and psychotic teddy bears. It takes place around a fictional high school for which our heroine, Fern Petersen (Jennifer LaPorte), runs track and is hoping to get into MIT on a scholarship based on a combination of her athletic ability and impressive academics. She’s driven and has a bright future ahead of her . . . at least she did until she met Robert Klingher (Vincent Martella).

The pair’s meet-cute at the track, where Fern is attempting to shave seconds off her lap time and Robert’s playing an acoustic guitar alone in the bleachers (for reasons unknown), stems from Robert’s concern for Fern’s health after she plows headlong into a hurdle having been distracted by his John Mayer impression. It’s an odd encounter, though nothing ostentatious. Nothing compared to where Clinger decides to go a few short minutes later.

The film stumbles through the relationship-building, transforming a friendship into a romance over the course of a couple of scenes, but that’s not entirely the film’s fault. You see, something’s wrong with Robert. He likes rushing into things, obsessing over making every single moment perfect. He’s the kind to celebrate the one month, three-week anniversary. It would be a sort of sweet sentiment if it weren’t a quality that extends to his undead . . . self. After he gets killed in an entirely underwhelming scene that’s intended to be funny but just . . . isn’t . . . he begins stalking Fern from beyond the grave. He visits her often, wanting to remain by her side.

When she makes it clear she’s trying her best to move on with her life, things go from weird to downright bizarre (#undeadsex . . . . . . . . how’s that one, Mutey?), with Robert determined to do whatever’s necessary to make Fern his eternal lover. As well as marking a major tonal shift, this point is, somewhat unfortunately, where the film falls apart, collapsing under the weight of significantly amateurish writing, acting and essentially every major facet of the filmmaking process.

There are some interesting ideas at play — the juxtaposition of the living and the dead create some amusing and at times moving scenarios (what happens when the only person who can ‘see’ Robert insists that the two should stop seeing one another?) — but in terms of execution, this seems closer to a first draft than a finished product. What starts off as a fairly shaky but still inviting teen-centric narrative descends alarmingly quickly into a mess of uncoordinated, juvenile and quite frankly dumb antics, most of which aim to appease the 13-year-old in all of us but instead inspire face-palms. The acting is perhaps the most grating of all, particularly when it comes to Martella’s sweet/creepy serenades to his still-living lover.

Clinger takes a pretty cynical approach in examining young love and its obsessive tendencies, and for that it should be praised. It’s refreshing. By shoving the world of the undead and the world of the living together, Michael Steves and company hope that some elements of this bizarre pseudo-zombie comedy (zombedy?) end up sticking. It’s obviously not an exact science and this slapdash film is unfortunately proof of that.

Recommendation: Sorry to say that this one just doesn’t do enough to merit a recommendation from me. I get where they were going with this, but the execution is pretty poor. The special effects in particular is a low point. I grant the film it’s minimal budget but in this day and age, where some films have accomplished extraordinary things on low budgets, that’s just not a good enough excuse anymore.

Rated: R

Running Time: 81 mins.

Quoted: “We just don’t fit into each other’s life plans . . . or death plans, sorry.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.filmaffinity.com; http://www.filmpulse.net 

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13 thoughts on “Clinger

  1. Pingback: Exclusive Interview: Jennifer Laporte Talks ‘Clinger’ | digitalshortbread

  2. Oh wow! This was NOT something you loved!

    #undeadsex made me think of Life After Beth!

    Haven’t you seen Warm Bodies? I was pleasantly surprised. I refused to watch it for so long and eventually did and I had a really good time with it, and it shouldn’t even work that well!

    • I haven’t seen Warm Bodies yet, no. It looked SO sappy to me I don’t think I can stand it. However. . . it’s getting a recommendation from you and we’re on the same page when it comes to the way romance is portrayed in movies and stuff, so I’ll be brave and give it a go!

      As for this, yeah it’s a bit of a shame. I wish it could have been better, some of the performances were just so incredibly irritating. . .

      • Oh do check it out. It is totally not what is to be expected and works way better than it had any right to! Yessssss, that sounds excellent!

        I resent an irritating performance. It ruins everything.

    • And something tells me you guys won’t be missing it too much. 😉 There are some interesting ideas here but the execution is just. . . blegh. Didn’t work for me at all. Plus there’s this really irritating song that this guy tries to serenade her with and — goddamn it, it’s back again, stuck in my head when i thought it was gone!! Ah! Noooooooooooo

    • Certainly low-budgeted and amateurish, and it’s clear the cast and crew are having a blast but that’s unfortunately the extent of who’s having a good time. This is pretty awkwardly done man. I’d give it a wide berth. (Which i guess is a lot easier when you don’t know about it.) 🙂

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