terrifier | terrifier 2 | damien leone | jenna kanell | lauren lavera | david howard thronton | art the clown | supernatural | slasher | united states | elliott fullam | sarah voigt | amelie mclain | felissa rose | casey hartnett | catherine corcoran | sequel | samantha scaffidi
Film: Terrifier 2
Director: Damien Leone
Writer: Damien Leone
Starring: Jenna Kanell, Lauren LaVera and David Howard Thornton
This is a movie that I’ll be honest, I was intrigued to check out, but not as excited as some people. I enjoyed All Hallows’ Eve for what it was and the original Terrifier showcased a creepy villain, had good effects while lacking in the story. Ahead of me getting to see this, I did hear positive things so that piqued my interest. I did get to see this at the Gateway Film Center.
Synopsis: after being resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) returns to the timid town of Miles County where he targets a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween night.
We start this on the night of the original. Art was thought to be dead, but that’s not the case. He kills the coroner who calls the police. We then see him go to a laundry mat to get cleaned up. It is there that we see a little girl like Art. She is referred to as ‘the little pale girl' and played by Amelie McLain. The two of them leave after killing another patron.
The movie then shifts a year into the future. We are mostly following a family that is made of Sienna (Lauren LaVera), her younger brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam) and their mother Barbara (Sarah Voigt). Through different things, we learn that the father passed away. He was seeing things ahead of that and the family is still struggling with his passing.
Jonathan is interested in the events of what Art did. He wants to go as far to dress up as him for Halloween. This upsets Sienna where Barbara doesn’t see the big deal. That night something odd happens. Sienna has a nightmare that involves Art. She wakes up to find part of the Halloween costume she made on fire. She has candles on the dresser and that is what her mother blames it on. Sienna tries to convince her that they weren’t lit.
The odd things don’t stop there. Jonathan sees Art at school. There is a dead possum that he sees this older clown playing with along with the little pale girl. They throw it at him and Jonathan is blamed for bringing it inside. This freaks his mother out who grounds him. Sienna also sees Art at the local costume shop. This is just the beginning of the nightmare as he stalks Sienna’s friend Allie at her home. Sienna has to fight to save her family before it is too late and there could be clues with things that her father left behind.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction of the characters. Where I want to start is with something that I heard ahead of seeing this. It appears that writer/director Damien Leone took to the criticism that his first one didn’t have much of a plot. This sequel is running in at two hours and eighteen minutes. Where the original was showcasing the effects, this one is doing that while also building on the mythology of Art and even a bit of Sienna. I’m glad that is the route they went, but I’m not sure it fully works. I’ll come back to this though.
Where I want to start though would be with our new lead here. Sienna is an interesting character. She is artistic like her father. She stays up late trying to get a costume ready for Halloween. It is based off a drawing her father did of a character that Sienna wants to become. I like this as it is a way for her to connect with her dad. It brings heart to the movie. While I’m with this, I’ll bring up Jonathan as well. He is doing something similar in a different way. He has found their father’s sketch book and inside are articles about Art as well as his murder spree. Jonathan wants to know more about it and it fascinates him. He’s trying to find a connection and why his father was obsessed. His sister and mother try to say it is due to his mental state at the time he died. I don’t think Jonathan wants to think of him in a negative way so he won’t accept it. I like what this movie is doing here with the depth of this family.
Going along with this, I did like incorporating elements from the earlier movie as well. It is bringing back on a limited basis Tara Heyes (Jenna Kanell), Victoria Heyes (Samantha Scaffidi) and Monica Brown (Katie Maguire). Their story is secondary, but it ties in with the ending. It comes back to Art though. There were inklings in that first one that he was supernatural. This is confirming that. You can’t just kill him. We see him healing in our opening bit and then as it goes. I don’t mind this to be honest. It explains things enough. I also like that some people when they’re killed by Art, become almost infected by whatever it is as well. My only gripe here is that lore gets introduced, but it doesn’t go anywhere. This is setting up for another sequel, which I’m assuming is to explain more. I think that the ending of this is diminished due to this move personally.
That should be enough for the story so I’ll go to the acting. This might be unprofessional, but I loved LaVera. She has a great look and her performance matches it. She isn’t weak to start, that is something I want to establish. There is a confidence she needs to find though. My only issues with her and other characters is inconsistent writing. I don’t know if they matched certain things and it didn’t flow naturally for me. Regardless, another great performance is Thornton. I love him as Art. He has taken this role and made it his own. He adds so much personality without saying a word. His facial expressions are great. I thought that Kailey Hyman, Fullam, Casey Hartnett and Voight are all solid. McLain is creepy in the best ways in her role. We get cameos from Felissa Rose and Chris Jericho which were fun. I don’t even mind the use of Kanell, Scaffidi and Maguire to help connect the two films. The acting is solid for what we needed in a supernatural slasher like this.
Where I’ll end this out then will be with the filmmaking. The first and foremost should be the effects. They went practical here with everything that they could and look amazing. There were times that it made me cringe so I give credit there. The confirming that Art is supernatural helps. I’d even say that we get good cinematography to go along with it. A good part of this is knowing how to frame things to make sure that it looks good and we don’t see the seams. Other than that, I thought the soundtrack fit for what was needed and adds atmosphere for sure. A negative here is that this is too long. My interest was waning late in the movie as it feels like it hits a wall for me and meanders. That would be my only gripe here. I am interested in seeing where they go with the third, if that is what is in the cards so that should say something as well.
In conclusion, I’m shocked that I enjoyed this as much as I did. I don’t mean that as a slight. I didn’t hate the original, but I also did love it. This one expanded on what I thought the first did well. We get interesting characters to follow. There is more lore about the character of Art and I think that Thornton’s performance is spot on. This has me intrigued to see where the story goes, but I also think that makes this one feel a bit incomplete to me. Aside from that, I’d say the acting is good for a slasher. The effects are great. The cinematography and the soundtrack are solid as well. Another issue is that this is just too long. Not enough to ruin it, but they could get this under two hours and it would run tighter. This won’t be for everyone. If you like gory slashers or killer clowns, give this a go.
My Rating: 8 out of 10