Terrifier 2

Terrifier 2

After being resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown returns to the timid town of Miles County where he targets a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween night.

Art the Clown returns to continue his reign of terror in . One year after the Halloween night massacre that took the lives of nine people and left the sole survivor Victoria Heyes (), horribly disfigured, Art the Clown () is resurrected by a supernatural force. He continues his indiscriminate killing spree in the town of Miles County, this time targeting teenager Sienna Shaw () and her younger brother Jonathan ().

Terrifier 2 is the sequel to the 2016 cult hit slasher film, once again written and directed by Damien Leone. This is technically the third film featuring the villain Art the Clown, first introduced in Leone's 2013 anthology film All Hallows' Eve, featuring the original 2011 Terrifier short film as part of the narrative. Unlike the original Terrifier, which was filled with nasty and extremely gory kills with no real protagonist, Terrifier 2 introduces us to Sienna Shaw. At the start of the film, Sienna is creating an angel Halloween costume inspired by the artwork of her late father.

The story of Terrifier 2 is set into motion when Sienna has a nightmare about Art the Clown, which somehow results in a fire starting in her bedroom. In addition, Jonathan, who has been exhibiting an unhealthy obsession with Art the Clown, gets in trouble with his mother, Barbara (), for an incident at his school. As Sienna and her friends, Brooke () and Allie (), prepare to attend a Halloween party, Art the Clown surfaces to resume his killing ways.

Before the release of Terrifier 2, I caught up with the original film earlier this month. I was left shocked by the level of depravity in the film, including several kills that I interpreted as highly misogynistic. At the very least, I can say that Terrifier 2 is a better film, with a greater emphasis on dark humour, including a victim who stays alive despite being mutilated beyond recognition and having a protagonist we can root for, as opposed to Victoria Heyes from the original, who was introduced as a supporting character and only happened to be the one (barely) living at the end.

However, despite significantly improving from the original, I can't fully get on board with Terrifier 2 since it is just plain mean-spirited. While I applaud the film for celebrating practical gore effects, most of Art the Clown's victims are mutilated beyond recognition to the point where it can be nauseating. In addition, the aforementioned dark humour disappears in the climax of a 2-hour and 18-minute film, BTW, as Art the Clown is relentless in his torture of both protagonists, including a particularly nasty sequence involving a cat-o-nine tails. Also, while most of the cast is relatively solid, Sarah Voigt, as Sienna and Jonathan's mother, Barabara, is quite cringe-inducing with her line delivery.

However, I have to give praise where praise is due, and former mime David Howard Thornton has made Art the Clown's character his own. I find the character more creepy when he is not killing and is just standing there watching his intended victims. Terrifier 2 introduces a child sidekick for Art the Clown credited only as The Little Pale Girl (Amelie McLain), who somehow plays a role in his backstory, which is alluded to throughout the film and will likely be further explored in the inevitable third Terrifier film. I also note some notable cameos from scream queen Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and professional wrestler Chris Jericho, who appears in a mid-credits scene setting up the third chapter.

On the one hand, Terrifier 2 is a significant success story for independent horror since it is a crowdfunded sequel to an original that now has an immense cult following. I just wish all this success went to a film franchise that was a little less nasty and mean-spirited.

Trailer for Terrifier 2

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.