3/10 “Terrifier 2”?! I didn’t know there was a “Terrifier” 1! If you found yourself thinking that sentiment, you are not alone. As someone who follows film for a living, I was unaware of Damien Leone’s previous movies featuring his signature character Art the Clown. I quickly rushed to watch both “All Hallows’ Eve” and “Terrifier” to prepare for this current follow up. “Terrifier 2” has recently made headlines for causing some people to puke and/or pass out in movie theaters across the nation. While the movie is certainly gross out gory, people shouldn’t be reacting that strongly to it if you’ve seen a fair amount of grisly horror films in the past. If you aren’t a fan of horror films or have a weak stomach, then you should probably avoid this movie but if you are a horror connoisseur like me, you won’t have any problems. Clickbait headlines aside, while this sequel is an improvement upon the first movie, this is still by no means a decent movie. Before I get into why this movie is a waste of time, I will give the movie credit where credit is due. In a film making landscape that overuses CGI, having a lower budget, independent movie like this using practical effects is always a welcomed sight. All of Leone’s movies haven’t had the budget for extensive CGI so he has had to rely on practical effects. While clearly fake, they will age better than most CGI will over time due to the fact that they are physically real while technology rapidly ages. We do get a lot of graphic and grisly violence, which is mandatory in a horror movie like this. The movie’s score is appropriately creepy as we get a mix of techno/cyber punk vibes mixed with the occasional clown music. Finally, the greatest strength the movie has going for it is leading lady Lauren LaVera, who plays Sienna. She carries the movie from start to finish, is a badass character and fun to watch onscreen. There isn’t much more you could ask for from your lead actress in a horror movie. Unfortunately, the problems with this movie come from Leone’s shallow script and the fact that this movie pushes two and a half hours in length. If you thought the most recent “Avengers” films from Marvel were long, make sure you empty your bladder before this since the movie drags on way longer than it needs to. The biggest issue here is that with both “Terrifier” movies, we have a paper thin plot with an unkillable baddie (Art the Clown) as just an excuse to show blood and gore. I am all for blood and gore in horror films, but you need a compelling story to tie everything together. We should care about characters so when they die we are devastated. Yet these movies feel like Leone just wants an excuse to put violence for violence’s sake on the big screen to shock audiences. Vulgarity or profanity just for the sake of grossing people out or offending audiences is done in poor taste. The entire movie is a killer clown going around killing people. That’s the entire plot in a nutshell. There is no nuance, no subtlety, no social commentary, no intelligence, etc. People complained about the “Saw” franchise and labeled it “torture porn”, despite the fact that those films actually have well thought out stories, crazy plot twists and villain(s) that can be defeated. “Terrifier 2” truly is torture porn with none of the substance of even the worst “Saw” film. When your villain can’t die (or just comes back from the dead willy nilly), it eliminates all the stakes knowing that all of the human characters will eventually die since they won’t be able to defeat their nemesis. In a genre where we already have iconic killers who generally can’t die such as Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, etc., Art the Clown does nothing to differentiate himself from the psychopaths who came before him, with the exception of being a clown. We get no backstory on his origin or how he came to be powerful; we are just expected to go along with it. Due to the low budget and the fact that this movie is financially successful (grossing $7.9 million so far off of a $250,000 budget), we are all but guaranteed a “Terrifier 3”. Let’s just hope that Leone actually crafts a story worth telling instead of mindless violence for an overly long period of time that wastes the talent of his cast. The only terrifying thing here is that Leone seems to have not learned proper screenwriting, despite years of doing so.

#StarringSiennaKiller / #MasterTheArtOfKilling / #TurnThatClownUpsideDown / #MilesCountyToGoBeforeISleep / #PennyTriesTheClown / #AMixedTrashBag

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