The 2017 Frightfest Halloween event ended with a suitably dark and gory affair, which could be described - with apologies to the King blockbuster – as ‘The Night ‘It’ came home’
Damien Leone’s Terrifier is an expansion of a character that has appeared in two previous short film incarnations of his, firstly in 2008’s The 9th Circle, and then the subsequent 2011 short of the same name as this film.
Evil clown Art is out to play a silent game of death on vulnerable women. His first two potential victims are Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran), who first encounter the mysterious figure whilst eating pizza. He isn’t revealing much to them, even after the owner of the pizzeria demands he leave after he refuses to acknowledge him in trying to order something.
However, when the pair discover the tyres on their car are flat, Tara decides to call her sister to come and get them. A call of nature beckons and Tara asks the super at a nearby building to use the toilet, unaware that Art may well be waiting in the shadows…
Leone is competent and comfortable with the motifs of the genre and in Terrifier he has announced his directorial intent as somebody who can handle suspense and gore in equal measure. Art is a truly malevolent and evil killer, up there with the likes of Freddy, Jason and Jigsaw. The film has the same atmosphere as Halloween, Friday the 13th and Tobe Hooper’s Toolbox Murders, but does at times come across as a semi rip-off of those more affectionately remembered classics, with a hint of Hostel thrown in for good measure.
Kanell and Corcoran are attractive leads and hold the attention, a common trait of many great horror films over the years that will always bring in punters. Leone wisely keeps the action confined to limited locations and there are some cheerfully dark moments provided by Art, who perversely laughs off some of his malicious acts, which were greeted with nervous laughter by the FrightFest audience in place at the screening this writer attended.
If you still have that childhood phobia of clowns then this, combined with the on-going commercial success of IT, will not soften your fear of them.
The film is certainly going to score highly with fans in its make-up effects, which are amongst the bloodiest on show I have seen. If you can endure what was on show in Hostel and Saw, then you will have no trouble here.
Terrifier may suffer a little bit in terms of audience success because of the King blockbuster, but Art is certainly a little scarier than Pennywise at times in this film.
TERRIFIER / CERT: TBD / DIRECTOR: DAMIEN LEONE / SCREENPLAY: DAMIEN LEONE / STARRING: JENNA KANELL, CATHERINE CORCORAN, MARGARET REED / RELEASE DATE: 28TH OCTOBER (FRIGHTFEST)