Terrifier 2 is an all-out ultra-violent horror follow up to 2016’s cult favourite.
A year after Art the Clown‘s (David Howard Thornton) deadly Halloween night massacre, things are gearing up again. Art has vanished without a trace leaving many bodies in his wake. Like Santa after Christmas, Art the Clown has had 364 days to heal and prepare his garbage bag full of tools.
Teenager Sienna (Laren LaVera) is working diligently on her costume inspired by her late father’s designs. Her younger brother Eric (Griffin Santopietro) who still troubled by their father’s death, plans to dress as Art on Halloween, much to the shock of his sister and mother Barbara (Sarah Voight). As violent nightmares of Art torment Sienna, she fears that like her father, she is losing her mind. However, as Art begins an even more violent rampage, she may just be to one person able to stop him.
Including the lesser known All Hallows’ Eve, this marks the third in Damien Leone‘s series of films featuring Art the Clown. I’ve seen All Hallows’ Eve, Terrifier, and I’m pleased by Leone‘s growth as a filmmaker. This sequel is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor.
Art the Clown just may be the latest slasher movie icon. As said in the film, “For a guy who doesn’t speak he sure makes a lotta noise”. There has been a plethora of ‘psycho clown’ movies, but few reach this level of insanity. David Howard Thornton who took over the role of Art for both Terrifier films makes the role his own. An experienced physical actor himself, he takes inspiration from various silent performances. Through this, he is legitimately amusing to watch rather than simply being a psycho in a clown suit. Also, few movie maniacs tend to enjoy themselves quite as much as Art. There is something especially disturbing about a mime silently laughing his ass off after decapitating a woman!
It is easy to be distracted by gore, but I was also impressed by how much time Leone puts into the story and its characters. Much time is spent on the dynamic of Sienna, Eric, and Barbara with the loss of their father/husband affecting them all differently. Although perhaps more time is spent here than some slasher fans would wish. The extent of the film’s violence necessitates there be more story as well, otherwise Terrifier 2 would just be a series of gruesome deaths one after the other.
Terrifier 2 never bore me. In fact, it drew me in by avoiding a nonstop barrage of torture and murder. The scenes with Sienna‘s family and friends make us care more about them, even if we’re waiting for them to be hacked up. There is a real effort made to build up this cast as more than just lambs for slaughter.
The performances all around are solid, adding much more than expected to the film. For example, Kailey Hyman as Sienna‘s wild friend Brooke brings much personality to what would usually be a forgettable character. But of course, the real draw here is the gratuitous amount of violence and destruction on screen.
I have seen quite a few extremely violent films in 2022 and I have loved every one of them. Not being much about scares or building tension, Terrifier 2 is all about the bloodbath. Leone‘s intention with Art the Clown is to make our heads spin with the brutality we are witnessing, and he has not lost his edge. With some of the most shocking torture scenes I have ever witnessed. it is little wonder some cinemas have begun handing out sick bags upon entry.
Not for the faint of heart and not for the average cinema goer, Terrifier 2 is as extreme as it gets. Damien Leone has broken through to the mainstream without losing any of the fire which made his earlier films so exciting. Terrifier 2 is one of the most interesting horror films of the year and is highly recommended to anyone who wants to test their status as a horror film fan.