“Terrifier 2: The sinister clown” has given a lot to talk about: it is not only said that it has caused fainting and vomit in movie theaters, but it has also become one of the most profitable films of the year, since with a budget of only $250,000 it has raised more than $11 million so far. But is director Damien Leone’s new movie really worthy of all the praise?
After his death in the first film, the ruthless killer Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) is revived thanks to the forces of evil to carry out more bloody slaughter. This time his target is a girl named Sienna (Lauren LaVera) and her brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), who have a mysterious supernatural connection to the clown. Will Sienna be able to defeat this entity from hell?
The first “Terrifier” is famous for its gore extreme: in it Leone set aside the story in favor of showing off its very effective practical effects and showing the depravity of its villain, Art the Clown. Gratuitous and in bad taste, that exploitation film was 90 minutes of people being mutilated for the sheer pleasure of provoking the audience. They are extremely grotesque and narratively empty deaths, including a woman being sawed in half vertically with a saw. This second part does not leave aside this bloody aspect, but it spins it with an interesting plot, many tributes to horror classics and a protagonist worthy of being in the pantheon of fame of the final girls.
The film already assumes that you know the lengths to which its villain can go, so it focuses on developing Sienna and her connection to the killer. Of all the works that Leone has done of Art the Clown (two short films, “Terrifier” and “Halloween’s Eve”), this is the one in which he expands his story the most, finally putting the clown before an adversary worthy of his depravity and sadism. Although some aspects of this mythology remain ambiguous, this helps maintain the mystery of the demonic mime. Leone reveals just enough to understand Sienna’s role in this conflict, but not too much to ruin Art’s enigmatic aura.
David Howard Thornton is once again brilliant as Art and cements him as something that was sorely needed in the slashers moderns: a new iconic assassin. The clown doesn’t just kill his victims, but he makes them suffer until they can’t anymore. The practical makeup effects (done by Leone himself) will have many squirming in their seats as this terrifying being maims, skins and tortures his victims. Although there’s an interesting story this time around, the director doesn’t leave out what made his villain famous in the first place. Those who go in search of blood and guts will leave very satisfied.
It’s incredible that this film was made with only $250,000, because in addition to its effects, it has many interesting and creative settings (especially a haunted house in the third act) and careful aesthetics; With a color palette of oranges and blues, a synth soundtrack, color grading that gives off a retro vibe, and an incredible Valkyrie costume for Sienna, the film alludes to many horror classics and feels like a lost tape from the 80s. Leone is a big fan of classic horror movies (his mother he named it after Damien from “The Omen”), and here his knowledge is evident in the different nods, both thematically and visually, to other films of the genre.
some fans of gore maybe they find “Terrifier 2” a little soft in relation to other more intense exploitation tapes; however, this is not a weakness but a strength: the movie is bloody but still manages at a level accessible to casual audiences. Leone knows how to reach his audience, and with this film he has built a provocative and highly entertaining installment that, like his heroine, successfully defends itself against all odds.
“Terrifier 2: The Sinister Clown” is now available in Mexican theaters. Cover image courtesy of Imagem Films.