Terrifier 2 Review

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Terrifier 2
IMDB: LINK
Director(s): Damien Leone
Actor(s): Jenna Kanell, Lauren LaVera, David Howard Thornton
Film Genre(s): Horror
Running Time: 138 min
CGM Editors Choice

Terrifier 2 is a worthy follow-up to its gory predecessor. I missed the first Terrifier when it came out in 2016, but it definitely looked fun. A sadistic mute clown going around gleefully hacking up his victims in the most creative and grisly ways. What’s not to like? I had seen the character cosplayed countless times at horror film conventions but had no idea what the actual movie was about. Then, during a get-together, a friend gave a glowing recommendation of it, saying, “You know, when I started watching it, I thought it was going to be stupid, but it turned out to be really good.”

Upon learning that Terrifier 2 would get a limited theatrical release, I thought it was high time I saw the first one. In brief, I thought Terrifier was a great deal of fun. It had a gritty, independent spirit and a memorable, comic slasher villain named Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton), who, rather than being a shallow reference or imitation of what had come before, was a fresh-faced sinister entity looking to carve out his own name. So, I ended up seeing Terrifier for the first time the night before I saw the sequel, and seeing both movies back to back gave me a unique perspective on the series known for its brutal violence.

Terrifier 2 Review

Terrifier 2 picks up right where the first one left off. Art the Clown has escaped the morgue he wound up in the original film and has returned to Miles County to terrorize a teenage girl named Sienna and her younger brother Jonathan on Halloween night.

Everything in Terrifier 2 has been upgraded from the original, from the quality of the acting and writing to the cinematography and the technical craft behind the camera. On what couldn’t have been a very big budget, the things this movie gets away with production-wise are very impressive. Just like its predecessor, Terrifier 2 takes advantage of a lot of grubby, run-down locations to set its action, among them an abandoned amusement park, complete with a killer haunted house attraction and a shadowy hospital. This makes for a variety of very bloody and very satisfying set pieces.

“Terrifier 2 is a fun, gory sequel that outdoes the original in just about every way.”

On top of the fun premise of Art the Clown going around on Halloween night and hacking up any hapless victims who he happens to come across, Terrifier 2 continues the trend of extremely creative and gore-drenched special effects and FX makeup. It was also better written than similar movies of its type, juggling the tropes of the final girl and slasher film villain skillfully so that they wouldn’t feel derivative. Art the Clown never seems to have too much of a plan but instead takes advantage of situations he walks into. That randomness is what makes both the character and the movie so much fun.

Terrifier 2 Review

These aspects can be attributed to the writer and director of Terrifier 1 and Terrifier 2, Damien Leone, who was also responsible for the makeup and special effects. Damien Leone is unique in this way. I can’t recall many filmmakers who write, direct and produce their own makeup effects of such professional quality. If I had to compare him to any other filmmaker, the obvious example would be how John Carpenter both directed and produced the score for the majority of his movies, both to a high degree of quality.

Not only are the kills and graphic violence brutal in Terrifier 2 with a significant body count, but equally brutal is what the actors are put through to achieve some of these fantastic scenes. I appreciated how much the lead actress, Lauren LaVera, went through, especially during the film’s third act. She gets beaten up, dirtied, bloodied, and tossed around like a ragdoll. She’s half-naked through a good portion of the film, and a lot of the environments she’s in look cold. That had to have been challenging as an actress. Special mention goes to the bright-eyed moppet Amelie McLain, in a breakout role as Art’s demonic little doppelgänger, who’s literally completely insane. Her introduction might just be my favourite scene in the movie.

Clocking in at just under two and a half hours, Terrifier 2 felt just a hair long with a slight bloated running time. At no point was I bored, and I’m all for watching the uncut version, but I felt like they could’ve easily trimmed at least 15 minutes off the runtime, especially toward the third act when a few beats and bits of information are repeated. Apart from that, all the film’s excesses, murderous clown, and graphic violence are a welcome treat.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE

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