Deliciously Sadistic, Terrifier 2 (FANTASTIC) Raises the Bar for Infamous Art the Clown
Title: Terrifier 2
First Non-Festival Release: October 6, 2022 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Damien Leone
Writer: Damien Leone
Runtime: 140 Minutes
Starring: David Howard Thorton, Lauren LaVera, Eliott Fullam
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
This film’s review was written after its screening at the Fantastic Film Festival in 2022.
Resurrected shortly after his original killing spree, Art the Clown (Damien Leone) takes no time before seeking out new victims. He does, however, take a year long hiatus shortly thereafter. In his return, he has become hellbent on stalking Sienna (Lauren LaVera), a young woman whose father’s death affected her greatly and may reveal some clues towards her recent nightmares involving Art. At least her troubled younger brother Jonathan (Eliott Fullam) believes there is some connection between their family and Art. Sienna disregards him and decides to attend a Halloween party with her friends, while Jonathan stays at home with their mother (Catherine Corcoran). This makes both of them easy targets for Art as he starts slicing his way through the town.
Amped up evil clown antics help cement Terrifier 2 as a great follow up to the iconic feature that spawned the beloved Art.
Given the subject material, it is fair that this slasher does not conform to a cohesive and realistic story structure. Instead, Terrifier 2 plays out like your worst nightmare over the course of two and a half hours. Bloody kills, vivid dream sequences, and breathless chase scenes comprise the runtime rather than anything too technical or philosophical. And that is the fun of Terrifier 2. It’s simple and effective.
Terrifier 2 is dripping in blood, guts, and gore. Amping up the kills from the first film is no easy task, but the team behind the sequel certainly rises to the occasion. Not only are they better executed, they are much more memorable. Art’s proclivities for the unique death sequence have been central to his character for years. Terrifier 2 allows him the opportunity to get even more sadistic and brutal without going off the deep end.
The set design in this iteration is outstanding. Now that the audience is free from the grungy and abandoned warehouse, Art gets a chance to appear in more normal settings, making him much more terrifying. Between school, suburban homes, and a horrific carnival funhouse, Terrifier 2 ups the ante in every conceivable way to keep its audience on edge. The carnival set is easily the most inspired, with many passageways and sets that add to Sienna, Jonathan, and the audience’s terror. It’s a scary and fun film through and through thanks to the work done by the creative directors.
Once the film hits its final act in the carnival, it falls victim to its ambitious script. Plagued with bloated dream sequences that add little to the story in terms of scares or substance, they merely serve to pad an already lengthy runtime. It also stretches believability in Art’s approach to Sienna and Jonathan. Little is explained about why they are so special, which is fine, but it makes it difficult to believe they’d stay alive that long to find out. It might also be addressed in the implied sequel that is surely churning in the mind of Damien Leone this moment. Aside from the three leads, everyone noticeably over acts. This is a stylistic choice to mimic the great slashers of yesteryear. It would likely be less grating if the secondary characters didn’t take up so much screentime due to the film’s lengthy runtime.
Dripping in all sorts of guts and gore, Terrifier 2 is a evenly paced monstrosity of a slasher film that relentlessly shocks and upsets its audiences like its meant to do. The kills are as brutal as the first entry, yet they are much more engaging and memorable this time around. Art’s personality remains the same and aside from some questionable decisions involving his mercy, his presence evokes the appropriate amount of fear in a human. There’s no clowning around when saying that this sequel is better than the original in all the right ways. Bigger, badder, and better than before, fans of the original and the uninitiated alike will have so much time to enjoy Art’s aimless serial killing ways. Tune in to see Art the Clown wreaking havoc just like he’s meant to do in Terrifier 2.
Overall Score? 7/10