"Terrifier 2" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
In 2016, Damian Leone made the feature film "Terrifier", giving his character Art the Clown a full-length feature to run around on a murderous rampage. With a very small budget and extreme, graphic violence present in the film, the movie surprisingly developed a huge cult following overnight, turning Art the Clown into a famous slasher villain alongside the ranks of Michael Myers and Ghostface. Now with plans to make a second film, and by his campaign for a bigger budget reaching around $250 thousand in donations, Leone made a bigger, badder, and more gruesome sequel for Art the Clown, which took everything great about the first film and enhanced them beyond what they could have achieved in their first outing.
Something that the viewer will notice is the inclusion of a major protagonist, which is Sienna (Lauren LaVera), which wasn't found in the first film. She lives with her mom (Sarah Voight) and her brother, Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), who are all dealing with the death of their father. As they are all getting ready for their different plans on Valentine's Day, Jonathan discovers his father's old journal, which documents how he knew what was going to happen with the villainous Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) and the people he will kill throughout the years.
At the same time, a year after the events of the first film, Art is getting ready to go on another murder spree, this time on a much more grand scale than a year ago. Now accompanied by a little ghost girl who is dressed exactly like him (Amelie McLain), he is on the mission to kill as many people as gruesomely as possible on Halloween night, not knowing that Sienna and Jonathan have made it their mission to end his reign of terror once and for all.
Unlike the first film, this movie is very focused on the plot and does everything in its power to push it forward. If the first move had too little plot, this movie may have had too much, relying too much on the lore and the backstory of certain characters. However, I would say I really did enjoy the story and all of the lore it set up, and it allowed the viewer to really get invested in all of the characters, even Art in its own twisted and disfigured way.
The first film is known for being very brutal and over-the-top, especially the scene where he saws a woman hanging upside down in half as slowly as possible. In this second film, I would say the gruesomeness and gore is perhaps a thousand times worse, with some scenes forcing me to look away from the screen and gagging. Consider the bedroom scene, where he brutally slaughters his poor victim in multiple scenes. It is so hard to watch and gruesome that the viewer feels sick to their stomach, which lasts for the rest of the film. It is so disturbing and sadistic that it makes you wonder if the creator of these films is seriously okay. But that's why this film works so perfectly. There's a major audience for this movie, and those viewers are going to love everything about this film.
Howard Thornton gives another incredible performance, giving such a terrifying nature to this role. However, what's different about his role here compared to the first movie is the humor he is able to convey. Some of that humor was teased in the first film, but this script lets Howard Thornton go full sicko mode and really get into the role of crazed clown who murders people. He is sickeningly hilarious in all of the worst ways possible, which works so well. Like I mentioned in my review for the first film, this actor seriously has a very long career in this business due to how well he portrays these characters, and I think this film furthers that belief.
I think LaVera is great in this movie, opposite of Howard Thornton. This is sort of her debut into major motion pictures, and she is just a lovable character. She has a great personality and is just a joy to watch on the screen. She embodies that badass female attitude that many of the last girls have, and she just perfectly follows in the footsteps of legends like Jamie Lee Curtis and Heather Langenkamp. These movies are for horror junkies, even though they have developed a cult following across the world; but they also serve as star-making opportunities for many of the actors here.
In terms of the first film, this movie had a lot to live up to, which I think it did perfectly. It elevates almost every aspect from the first film, and is still a gruesome good time for the audience throughout. Leone has mentioned that there will be a third movie to explore more of Art's backstory and the character of Sienna, and I honestly can't wait to see what Leone has in store for us next.