The slasher that shocked audiences, “Terrifier 2”, is now free on Tubi, and it’s just as wild, gruesome, and entertaining as you’ve heard.
Like any other film genre, horror movies have ridden a roller coaster of ups and downs over the years.
Slasher movies were gradually introduced during the early ‘70s and gained popularity during the ‘80s. Horror left the real world and went back to the supernatural during the mid-’80s to early ‘90s with series such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Candyman, and Wishmaster. Even the iconic Halloween franchise added a supernatural twist in the late ‘80s. In the 90s, we had the birth of the self-aware slasher with Wes Craven’s iconic Scream. And in the 2000s, we began to see a return to gritty and brutal slasher throwbacks, including Rob Zombie’s Firefly family films and the controversial Halloween remake.
Now, we have a new 21st-century horror icon in the form of Terrifier‘s Art the Clown.
Damien Leone’s Terrifier is a revival of classic horror films, a new take on an old trope. However, much like Zombie, Leone ups the gore and violence beyond anything Carpenter or Craven, or even Barker could conceive of in their wildest nightmares. Art the Clown is just as relentless as Michael Myers, more brutal than Jason, and just as campy as Freddy Krueger.
I had heard about Terrifier’s much-buzzed-about sequel. Thus, when I saw that Tubi had added Terrifier 2, I didn’t hesitate to give it a watch.
To start with, the run time surprised me. The film is over two hours long, and I was curious about what Leone had in store. Even more surprising than the extreme length of this film is how little I wanted to turn it off once I started watching.
It’s long but never boring. The gore is extreme, and the film is raw and brutal. Leone breaks all of the rules of the subgenre. Children are harmed and help do the harming. We get to know some surprisingly interesting main characters who we truly care about and root for. Leone doesn’t shy away from putting his characters through hell and back again.
Terrifier 2 picks up where the first film left off, with Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) killing the coroner and leaving the office covered in blood.
He heads to the nearest laundromat to get cleaned up. Here, we meet Art’s sidekick, The Pale Girl (Amelie McLain). The Pale Girl accompanies Art throughout the movie on his gruesome adventures. She’s delighted and amused by Art’s macabre and grisly antics.
The story moves ahead to the following year, where Art and the Pale Girl prey upon the residents of Miles County.
We’re introduced to the Shaw family. Sienna Shaw (Lauren LaVera) and her brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam) lost their father recently. Their mother, Barbara (Sarah Voigt), is frustrated with both of them. Sienna begins to have strange experiences, such as the dresser catching fire when she swears she didn’t have candles burning. Meanwhile, Jonathan is obsessed with serial killers, especially Art the Clown.
At school, he sees Art and the Pale Girl with a possum carcass in the hallway which they throw at him. Jonathan gets suspended from school for bringing a bloody animal carcass into school and is sent home covered in blood. No one but him saw Art the Clown or the Pale Girl.
From there, it’s a brutal and bloody fight for survival as Art zeroes in on his innocent prey, badass final girl Sienna, ruthlessly going after her and everyone close to her.
Overall, the cast of Terrifier 2 is excellent.
LaVera and Fullam are excellent in their roles as siblings dealing with trauma. And Thornton’s performance as Art is effectively psychotic and creepy, with just the right dose of dark humor. But the best addition to the stellar franchise is McLain’s Pale Girl, who is psychotically entertaining as Art’s sidekick.
The film combines extreme gore with camp reminiscent of Hershel Gordon Lewis.
Art the Clown taunts his victims like a mime with soundless laughter. When it comes to killing, he’s quite creative and has no boundaries. He victimizes everyone equally – women, men, and children. He rips victims apart and taunts them with typical clown antics.
Terrifier 2 goes back and forth from a realistic to a dreamlike setting. I felt disoriented at points, like riding on an amusement park ride. But I think this effect was intended. The story takes bizarre but forgivable twists and turns and ends up being a hell of a ride.
Leone’s writing and direction create a genuinely disturbing and entertaining slasher film that’s not cliched or formulaic.