Terrifier 2 manages to stir up some controversy with articles popping up in the news about people fainting and even vomiting at the cinemas. Articles like this can be just a simple marketing stunt. There have been other movies that became box-office successes after similar news items appeared shortly after their release. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.
The original Terrifier was a throwback to the slashers of the 80s. It was extremely over the top and created an mesmerizing villain in Art the Clown. Few people saw it upon release, including me. It was an obscure movie made on a shoestring budget released around the same time as IT. I’ve seen a people around me, as well as myself, catch up with Terrifier after the sequel started generating some buzz.
Terrifier 2 continues the 80s tradition of picking up a sequel right where the previous movie left off. Art has been resurrected in the morgue and returns to the town of Miles County on Halloween night. If you’ve seen the first Terrifier, you know what Art is up to.
The scope of Terrifier 2 has been increased a lot compared to the original. Terrifier is basically a handbook of efficient low budget movie making. Terrifier 2 embraces the sequel route by going for the bigger is better approach. The budget has been increased times 2.5. But that is still only a mere $250,000. Peanuts in the world of movie making.
Director, writer, producer, sound designer, special and visual effects artist Damien Leone is extremely capable of creating the most bang for a buck. Terrifier 2 feels like a much more expensive movie than the budget would allow. The scope of Terrifier 2 is larger than the first movie, also evident by the running time which is about an hour longer than the previous movie. With a running time of almost 140 minutes Terrifier 2 is probably the longest slasher ever made.
Terrifier had just the very basics of what you could describe as a plot. Terrifier 2 tries to correct this by dedicating a large portion of its running time to Sienna (Lauren LaVera) and her brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam). Their father committed suicide a few years prior to this movie and he left a book with sketches. Among those sketches are drawings of Art the Clown.
Sienna has been putting a lot of effort into creating a Halloween costume based on a sketch by her father. A character in the vein of Xena: Warrior Princess. Sienna and her mother worry about Jonathan as he seems to have an obsession with serial killers and wants to dress up as Art the Clown, who is still on the run after escaping from the morgue a year prior.
Art remains as mysterious as ever and Leone shows restraint by never giving Art some sort of backstory. Art just is. But the plot concerning the sketches does seems to hint that at one point he did try to give Art some sort of backstory. If that was the case, then cutting it is the right decision as the less we know about Art the better. But the remainder of the storyline concerning the father and his sketches feels underdeveloped. Ideas that never resolve themselves and with a running time of 138 minutes could have easily been left on the cutting room floor.
Terrifier 2 is a better movie than the first one though the writing is a bit messy. A little evil clown girl is shown to be a figment of Art’s imagination in her first scene, but later on both Jonathan and Sienna see her as well. This might be because of some link with them and Art through their father. But since that seems to be cut from the movie, them seeing the girl raises questions the movie never answers.
Both Terrifier movies have been pleasant surprises for me this October month. They delivered something a big studio movie like Halloween Ends failed to. A simple script with a unique villain, some inventive gory deaths and a fun 85 – 140 minutes. Art the Clown is on his way to become a horror icon and Terrifier 3 will probably be green-lit any day now. Because Terrifier 2 could have lost the entire dad’s sketchbook connection to Art plotline, I’m hoping Damian Leone cuts as much in the script before filming as Art cuts into his victims.