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Review: Terrifier 2 (2022)

Terrifier 2 (2022)

Directed by: Damien Leone

Premise: A sequel to the 2016 film. The psychotic killer Art the Clown returns for another Halloween of mayhem. He stalks a brother and sister whose deceased father may have had insight into Art the Clown’s origins. 

What Works: The original Terrifier was a low budget film that got onto moviegoer’s radars due to its presence on streaming platforms and its reputation for extreme gore. The first film was a standard slasher picture with Art the Clown carving up hapless victims in a warehouse. Terrifier 2 picks up where the first film left off and it does exactly what a sequel should: it expands the story, escalates the stakes, and deepens the characters. Terrifier 2 is much better crafted that the first film and it climaxes with an impressive sequence set in a carnival fun house. The Terrifier series is a throwback to the body horror films of the 1980s and the main attraction is the gore of which the sequel has copious amounts. For those who appreciate such things, the special effects are exceptional. This movie introduces characters with some depth, especially siblings Sienna and Jonathan, played by Lauren LaVera and Elliott Fullam. Their siblinghood is authentic and Sienna goes through a transformation that hopefully gets explored further. The showcase performance is David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown. Thornton is both frightening and funny in ways that are reminiscent of Robert Englund’s performance as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s an extraordinary physical performance and Art the Clown is poised to become horror’s next slasher icon.

What Doesn’t: At 138 minutes, Terrifier 2 is too long. The first half of the film is especially baggy with redundant exposition and overlong murder set pieces. Filmmaker Damien Leone has a background in special effects and he includes every piece of coverage to show off the makeup effects. The work is impressive but the pacing suffers. The lighting and camerawork in the first half tend to be very plain. These early scenes are lit in a way that’s intended to showcase the special effects but sacrifices atmosphere or style. Terrifier 2 improves on all fronts in the second half but the first half tests the viewer’s patience. Viewers should also know this is a very gory picture. The filmmakers intend to put the viewer’s stomach through its paces and they succeed in doing that. Terrifier 2’s appeal is strictly for those who relish that kind of visceral experience.

Bottom Line: Terrifier 2 is superior to its predecessor. It is overlong and overdone but the moviemakers understand their audience and demonstrate ambition and showmanship. It’s brutal and gross which is exactly what it is trying to be.

Episode: #923 (October 23, 2022)