Art the Clown is back! After making a memorable starring debut in Terrifier (technically he appeared in the anthology film All Hallows Eve, but played by a different actor), the murderous clown is returning to take his place as the next great movie monster. Terrifier 2 injects steroids into the tiny horror flick that came before it, making a slasher epic. The bold move results in more gore, more kills, and more scares, but also added mythology and supernatural elements that just don’t really work. You almost never get two hour plus horror films, and this doesn’t earn that length, but it does have a lot of what you want out of a Terrifier sequel, that’s for sure.
Terrifier 2 is on the extreme side, but only really if you don’t know what you’re getting into. Anyone familiar with Art’s previous murderous antics will be prepared for the carnage at hand. So, if you’re concerned about reports of people passing out at screenings, just question if they went in blind or not. Sure, there’s some real gnarly murders here, but nothing so beyond the pale as to have someone require medical attention.
Taking place a year after the events of Terrifier, we quickly see that Miles County is not rid of Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) yet. Resurrected, he again has designs on Halloween carnage. This time, his target is Sienna (Lauren LaVera), her brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), and her friends. Art is alive due to some kind of supernatural possession by a demonic young female clown, while Sienna’s father has left her a sword with some kind of mystical properties. It soon becomes clear that the two are on a collision course.
As Art slices and dices his way through people in the town, including her friends, Sienna is initially unaware. She cautions Jonathan not to dress as Art for Halloween, but he’s well into his rampage before he begins targeting her, her family, and those she holds dear. Then, it’s just a matter of seeing if she’s up to the task of stopping him, once and for all.
Once again, the star is David Howard Thornton as Art. The way Thornton moves the murderous clown is truly unique and unsettling. The silence, as well as the insistence on joking, really sets him apart. Not only does Thornton make Art the Clown in the next great slasher, he’s one of the iconic new horror movie monsters, in my book. The film does feature better acting than the last one, with Lauren LaVera a solid scream queen. The rest of the cast is forgettable, largely existing as potential victims, though Terrifier‘s Jenna Kanell does have a cameo appearance.
Filmmaker Damien Leone is making his horror epic here, and even if some choices work better than others, you have to respect a big swing. Terrifier 2 never rests on its laurels, upping the ante in every way possible. The gore, which already was pretty accomplished in Terrifier due to Leone’s background in special effects makeup, is even better here. So too is his direction, even if his script is all over the place. Terrifier was lean and mean, while Terrifier 2 is almost too much of a good thing. The more he focuses on what worked last time, the more fun this movie is. When he’s diving into the supernatural, the film is far more scattershot and you feel its running length.
So, it goes without saying, but this not for the easily squeamish. Horror veterans may wonder what the people fainting in the audience are getting so riled up about, but newbies to gore like this may well be put over the edge. Consider it both a warning to those unaware as well as a reassurance to those fully prepped.
Terrifier 2 is for gore hounds only, but if you’re into that, like I tend to be, it’s gore done right. As a newfound franchise, it’s one with a ton of potential, going forward. Hopefully Leone focuses more on what makes Art the Clown so effective, as opposed to continuously expanding the mythology. As long as Art isn’t sent to space anytime soon, I can’t wait for the next installment!