Whoever came up with the adage ‘less is more’ as it pertains to horror films clearly never met Art the Clown or Terrifier 2 director Damien Leone. For Terrifier 2, more is more. More gore, more stomach-churning violence, more Art the Clown, more Terrifier. A lot of accusations can be hurled at Leone’s slasher sequel, but in no way does it leave its audience unfulfilled.
Described by its hosts at FrightFest as “the War and Peace of horror films,” Terrifier 2 clocks in at an astounding 140-plus minutes – around the same length as cinematic peers Goodfellas, Macbeth and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Those who have been waiting since 2016 for Art the Clown’s return will get plenty of bang for their buck.
This sequel rejoins Art (David Howard Thornton) in the wake of his Terrifier massacre. In the clown’s sights this time is Sienna (Lauren LaVera) and her teenage brother Jonathan (Elliot Fullam). As Art stalks the family across town on Halloween night, the clown quickly gets back to doing what he does best. Much of the first half is a straight redo of the first film, stretched out to almost two hours. After the prerequisite opening kill, Art pops up around town, leering at his increasingly creeped-out victims from doorways and shop floors (substitute the first film’s late-night eatery for a costume store, and the scene plays out much the same way).
More interestingly, Leone also gives Art his nemesis in Sienna. Teasing a dark family secret shared between Sienna, Jonathan and Art, Leone gives his non-murderclown characters more room to breathe. Well, that epic runtime had to be put to good use somewhere. It’s just a shame that these subplots ultimately go nowhere. Dream sequences, quasi-supernatural abilities and dark backstories are largely forgotten (or saved for the sequel) as Terrifier 2 enters its endgame.
But then, who is tuning in to Terrifier 2 for the trials and tribulations of a grief-stricken family unit? Leone knows that fans are here for but two things – to see Art the Clown doing creepy shit, and to see Art the Clown violently murdering people (usually, it must be said, beautiful women. Sure, a few dudes get theirs too, but rarely does Terrifier 2 dispatch its menfolk with as much gusto as it does the ladies).
Once again, the core audience will get precisely what they came to see. Terrifier 2’s kills repeatedly up the ante, delivering some of the most horrific gore sequences ever seen in a horror film. And, like much of Terrifier 2, it goes on and on, eventually reaching an astonishing crescendo of violence. Somehow there’s another hour or so after that too, repetition eventually blunting Art’s mean little thrills.
Fans of the murder clown should be satiated by all two-and-a-half hours (surprise, there’s a post-credits scene too!) of Terrifier 2. A self-indulgent, bum-and-brain numbing love letter to the undeniably hypnotic antics of Art the Clown.