Wrinkles the clown posterIn Florida, parents can hire Wrinkles the Clown to scare their misbehaving children.

You’ve seen the video. Grainy security cam footage shows a small girl sleeping in bed. Then, slowly, a clown named Wrinkles creeps out from underneath the child’s bed. Sent to scare the little darling by her parents, Wrinkles looms eerily over the sleeping youngster. After unbearable silence, the clown eventually deactivates the camera and the screen goes black. This was a viral video that appeared in late 2014 simply titled Wrinkles the Clown Caught on CCTV. A phone number is offered for other parents who might need Wrinkles to come scare their kids and soon the lore of a scary clown for hire in Southwest Florida takes the U.S. by storm.

Diving into the mystery, the hysteria, and the fascination, the new documentary Wrinkles The Clown covers its subject by exploring the effect the subject has had on the public through social media. What I found particularly fascinating here is the spectrum of reactions that the creepy clown evokes. Further on that point, it is a sad commentary in some cases.

The Doc begins introducing us to the video, the lore, the reactions, then dives deep. Director Michael Beach Nichols explores how the “boogeyman” and folklore have changed in modern times. We see Youtube videos of kids chanting “Bloody Mary” and scarring themselves into a frenzy. We watch as Youtubers post reaction videos of them and their friends calling the Wrinkles phone number. Nichols also explores the comical yet cringe-worthy ways that parents use the threat of Wrinkles to keep their kids in line. In a more disheartening segment, we listen to actual messages left for Wrinkles from kids that are far too violent for their age.

Then the doc plays a nasty little trick on us and comes clean. For some, this will be a dealbreaker. I found this to be a clever device that maintains the mystery and the lore of our titular character that allowed the focus to be on the monsters that we create for ourselves. What is it that is lurking under the bed? What is that peering into the window? How do we react and what does that say about us as people and society in general? Some retaliate with hatred and violence. Others respond with fascination. Yet still, there are some that react by wanting to make a true connection.

In the end, this will be a divisive doc but one that is worth seeing. Nichols has crafted a nifty little urban legend doc that covers one of the creepier characters of our digital age while pointing the camera squarely on us.

Wrinkles The Clown
Runtime: 1 hr 27 Mins
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Written By: