Terrifier is an unashamedly simplistic film which is both its biggest strength and its biggest weakness. As prevalent as the concept of killer clowns is, the closest we have to a definitive film icon is Stephen King’s It, and lest we forget that Pennywise is technically not so much of a killer clown as a giant, inter-dimensional spider-being. Yes, he takes the form of a clown to scare children but it feels as though there’s a void waiting to be filled by a true, down-the-line clown slasher icon. Terrifier’s Art the Clown feels like a conscious attempt to give us just that.
Art is a truly enigmatic and memorable villain. He frequently veers into the territory of being genuinely unpleasant to watch, which makes him feel somewhat separate from the usual stable of horror icons such as Freddy and Chucky. Special acknowledgement should be given to David Howard Thornton for a truly wonderful performance and one that easily stands toe-to-toe with the likes of Curry and Skarsgård.
The film is little more than Art chasing and murdering people and that’s all a film like this needs to be. One thing of note is how remarkably good a job the film does of keeping you guessing with regards to who (if anyone) will survive. Its willingness to kill characters makes it almost feel like a Coen Brothers-esque genre deconstruction at times. Whilst being kept on your seat throughout is great, this also has the unfortunate side-effect of new characters being constantly introduced only to be killed off a minute or two later. Fatigue definitely sets in during the third act because you’re not really invested in anyone.
Presented as something of a throwback to horror B-movies of the ‘80s, Terrifier has far more style - both visually and audibly - than the average film of this nature. It’s a surprisingly nice looking film for a movie about a clown chopping people into pieces.
Special features are sadly lacking with the sole extra being a making-of documentary - one where ‘documentary’ is used in the loosest possible sense to refer to some poorly shot and edited mobile phone footage cobbled together, presumably purely to prevent this from being just another vanilla disc. Die-hard fans might get something out of the raw, voyeuristic nature of the content, but more casual viewers likely won’t get through more than a couple of minutes before giving up.
In spite of this, Terrifier is well worth adding to the film collection of any killer clown or die-hard slasher movie fans for the film alone. This is technically Art’s third appearance following a short film and a turn in a horror anthology, but we would be very surprised if more Art the Clown movies don’t soon materialise.
TERRIFIER / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DAMIEN LEONE / STARRING: CATHERING CORCORAN, JENNA KANELL, MARGARET REED, KAMAL AHMED / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 6TH