TERRIFIER 2 movie poster | ©2022 Cinedigm

TERRIFIER 2 movie poster | ©2022 Cinedigm

Rating: Not rated
Stars: Lauren LaVera, David Howard Thornton, Elliott Fullam, Sarah Voigt, Kailey Hyman, Casey Hartnett, Charlie McElveen, Samantha Scaffidi, Chris Jericho, Amelie McLain
Writer: Damien Leone
Director: Damien Leone
Distributor: Cinedigm (theatrical), Screambox (VOD), Bloody Disgusting (all media)
Release Date: October 6, 2022

The original 2016 TERRIFIER is a brisk hour and twenty-five minutes. Its new sequel, TERRIFIER 2, is two hours and eighteen minutes long. Since most slasher horror films don’t run that long, this makes TERRIFIER 2 an immediate oddity.

Both TERRIFIER and TERRIFIER 2 are the epitome of hardcore slashers. It’s understandable why neither one was submitted for a rating, since the MPA would probably give it an NC-17 for gore and violence.

For those who know that the MPA normally is more restrictive about nudity and sexual activity than blood and guts, it cannot be stated too strongly that the brutality quotient here is way higher than is normally put on screen in a single film. Nuance is crucial – the SAW films, for instance, are arguably more psychologically sadistic (and have developed some odd ethical paradoxes that aren’t present in the TERRIFIER movies), but they’re also less graphic. If a monster in human form being fully, visibly monstrous is unappealing, this is not the movie for you. This isn’t a dare, it’s cautionary advice. There is no rape, infanticide, or abuse of animals (there is a dead possum, but it seems to have passed away from natural causes). Otherwise, there’s a lot.

Damien Leone, the writer/director of both TERRIFIER movies, is also the head makeup effects creator. In practical terms, this means that the amount and scope of “gags” that would normally be out of the budget range here are more affordable than they would otherwise be. It’s worth noting that TERRIFIER 2 was crowd-funded by fans of TERRIFIER (all of whom are thanked in a massive block in the closing credits), so those who like it are willing to pay more than admission for it.

Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) is a sadistic, completely silent homicidal maniac. He dresses as a clown in black and white, and finds his own acts of mutilation and murder to be hilarious.

TERRIFIER 2 begins where TERRIFIER ends, with the supernatural (but never explained) resurrection of Art in the county morgue. This goes badly for the poor coroner on duty.

A year later, on Halloween, Art appears back in his old stomping grounds. This time, his primary targets are teen Sienna (Lauren LaVera) and her twelve-year-old brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), although Art is perfectly happy to go after anyone he comes across.

Halloween allows Art to blend in, as well as passing off some of his bloody “art” (we get it) creations as holiday décor. We also get a third act in a wonderfully-designed abandoned amusement park.

Meanwhile, Jonathan and Sienna try to figure out how drawings made by their late father connect to the strange goings-on. This is one place where legitimate criticism can be leveled at TERRIFIER 2, even by those who acknowledge that the film otherwise fulfills its aims.

At its running time, TERRIFIER 2 has plenty of room to explain things that remain vague, not to mention a climax that suddenly adds mythology that is not even hinted at by anything that’s happened earlier. Mystery is one thing; these seem more like plot holes.

This aside, the pace moves briskly, yet scenes and events are given room to play out without feeling languid.

Leone has found the perfect delivery system for horror in actor Thornton, who creates a full character without the benefit of dialogue or even sounds. He is fluent in traditional clowning, waving and pointing and slapping his thigh in delight, able to switch from amusement to primal rage on a dime.

LaVera and Fullam are both very good, and Amelie McLain succeeds at being terrifying herself as a little clown girl who only Art, Sienna and Jonathan can see.

At this risk of belaboring the point, TERRIFIER 2 is not for everyone, not even all horror fans. For those who like scares, a memorable antagonist, and gore, it delivers on all fronts.

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