Lee (Ryan Reyes) is your average struggling comic. He’s socially awkward and a recluse. He has a hard time making relationships work. He shows up to open mics and tells his best jokes— jokes that he may or may not have borrowed from other people…from recently murdered people, to be precise.
You see, Lee has a deep dark secret. His twin brother is a murderous psychopath hell bent on hearing a good joke, and he isn’t afraid to kill to find it. And that naturally causes a lot of problems for Lee, especially after he meets the beautiful and kind Rachel (Abby Wathen), who actually takes a liking to him. Lee now must struggle to prevent her untimely demise at the hands of this masked killer, The Funny Man.
“The Funny Man” is a 10 episode horror web series written and directed by Jake Barsha and produced by Daily Motion, and it delivers. Each episode ratchets up the body count and drives the story closer to its shocking conclusion. It’s slick, gory and ultra creepy. “The Funny Man” is no joke.
The series is led by actor Ryan Reyes who gives a subtle yet haunting performance as our disturbed comedian, Lee. You’re not really sure what to make of him. You like him, but you don’t want to. You hate him, but you sympathize. You want him to succeed, but fear what he’s going to do next. It’s dynamite that will divide horror audiences into two factions: those who root for the victim and those who root for the killer. And should it really be any other way?
Lee’s performance is complimented by a stellar ensemble cast of both up-and-coming actors as well as veterans of the genre alike. Leslie Easterbrook (“The Devil’s Rejects,” “Halloween”) and David Fine add a wild card element to the series as the nosy neighbors, and, in near the end of the series, you can see exactly why these two have had such terrific careers so far in Hollywood. They really light it up when the time comes. And while many of the other characters only survive for one or two episodes, you really get a feel for who each one is as a person. “The Funny Man” looks like a web series, but plays like a feature film, creating characters you sincerely care about that all help drive the full story forward. The body count in this show is high, but it never feels gratuitous.
Other notable successes of “The Funny Man” go to the stellar cinematography by Yuki Noguchi and the editing and directing by Jake Barsha. It is masterfully lit and each frame carries a certain weight to it. The editing is crisp and often adds to the scares, from quick flashes of horrific moments to long, dreadful sequences. The overall pace of this show is quick, but thorough, enabling the viewer to see all of the bloody details.
At the end of the day, this is simply a terrific piece overall. If you’re a fan of gory horror, watch this show. If you’re a fan of psychological horror, watch this show. If you’re a fan of horror in general, watch this show. Who knows, you may even relate to “The Funny Man.” After all, don’t we all like telling jokes?