New to UK video-on-demand platforms this week is the horror sequel, Terrifier 2. Written and directed by Damien Leone, the movie stars David Howard Thornton, Lauren LaVera, and Elliott Fullam, and is the latest entry in the Art the Clown movie series.
Set around Halloween, the film picks up a year after the events of the Miles County Massacre, in which a silent, but very deadly clown named Art, mutilated and murdered a number of local residents. However, with Art seemingly dead, the residents of Miles County try to put the tragic events behind them and move forward with their lives.
But little do they know, that Art is very much still alive – or as alive as a supernatural serial killer can be – and is back in town dishing out his own special brand of horror. And before long, he sets his sights on a new set of victims: Teenager Sienna Shaw and her little brother, Jonathan.
Those who have watched 2016’s Terrifier, will know that it is a very dark, exceptionally gory, and incredibly gruesome little movie. The film is filled to the brim with creepy moments, stomach churning sequences, and some of the most depraved, vile, and violent death scenes to be put on screen.
In short: Terrifier is a horror movie which is not for the faint hearted. At times, it is more nightmarish than A Nightmare on Elm Street, more horrific than Hostel, and far more shocking than Saw.
It’ll come as no surprise then, that this latest offering, Terrifier 2, follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, and then some! This new movie includes some sickening sequences that are more shocking than what’s come before, and should probably not be viewed by anyone – including me.
I say “including me”, because as a general rule of thumb, barbaric horror is not something I enjoy. While I adore many different subgenres of horror, gorno is not one of them, and Terrifier 2 revels in some very sickening imagery that doesn’t tickle my pickle.
However, irrespective of my own personal tastes, I braved Terrifier 2 because I’m a film journalist and movie blogger, and it’s what I do. Even if something doesn’t quite call to me, I have to give it a go, so it has the opportunity to try and win me over.
Plus, I quite liked 2016’s Terrifier. OK, so ‘liked’ might be a strong word, but I respected the fact the movie did exactly what it said in the title: It was genuinely terrifying from start to finish.
However, the same can’t be said for Terrifier 2. While the movie does serve up the same sort of schtick its predecessor revelled in, and therefore ticks certain boxes that I’m sure some fans will enjoy, it never really terrified me.
Grossed me out? Sure. Bored me? Almost certainly.
The reason it doesn’t cut the mustard this time around is because this sequel is long-winded and patchy. It drags on far longer than it should, has a confusing (and poor) story, and runs out of steam very quickly.
Terrifier 2 is 138 minutes long, which in my opinion is about 45 minutes longer than it should be. The film stretches its material beyond breaking point and doesn’t know when to give up and move on.
Some scenes are completely superfluous, others run on beyond what they should, and there is a general sense that some major editing is required. While writer/director Damien Leone may be well versed in pushing the boundaries of taste and decency, he seems less fussed about figuring out how best to tell a story – and it shows!
This is fine when you keep things trim (like he did with Terrifier), but it simply doesn’t work when you over egg the pudding. If you increase the runtime then you also need to increase the story too, and that simply hasn’t happened here.
I can overlook poor performances, extreme violence (which this film has in spades), and a limited budget, because these were present in the first film, but what I can’t overlook is a movie which doesn’t know how to tell a story in an efficient way. Terrifier 2 is certainly guilty of this, and in its desire to shock its audience with more, MORE, MOOOOOOOORE(!!!), it loses sight of any hope of an engaging narrative.
Because the story doesn’t work, the gory set pieces quickly fall apart too. With little-to-no story holding them up, they feel more like a collection of ideas stitched together, and this becomes very dull, very quickly.
While I was shocked and suitably grossed out to begin with, I was less fussed as time went on. I don’t believe I became desensitized by what I was watching (although it wasn’t pleasant), it was more a case of being disinterested.
Moving on to something far less negative, David Howard Thornton continues to excel as Art the Clown, giving a truly disturbing performance, and this is a highlight of the film. His Art is the stuff of nightmares, he scares the heck out of me, and he is easily the creepiest villain in film right now.
There are few on-screen monsters that unsettle me, but Art does. This is because of what Thornton brings to the role and it does not go unnoticed.
But as for any other praise for the film or any praise for anyone else, I have little to give I’m afraid. Terrifier 2 has some decent moments here and there, but it all feels a little bloated, a little scattershot, and kind of pointless.
I thought it would be the gore or violence that got to me with Terrifier 2, but ultimately what stopped me in my tracks was just how padded the whole thing was. The film is an exercise in over indulgence and nothing more.
I expect more sequels will follow, but for this franchise to be anything other than a conveyor belt of the grotesque, it really needs to up its game. Less is more, story matters, and a bit more depth is required.