Combustible Celluloid Review - Terrifier 2 (2022), Damien Leone, Damien Leone, David Howard Thornton, Lauren LaVera, Elliott Fullam, Jenna Kanell, Catherine Corcoran, Griffin Santopietro, Felissa Rose, Samantha Scaffidi, Kailey Hyman, Katie Maguire, Casey Hartnett, Chris Jericho
Combustible Celluloid
 
With: David Howard Thornton, Lauren LaVera, Elliott Fullam, Jenna Kanell, Catherine Corcoran, Griffin Santopietro, Felissa Rose, Samantha Scaffidi, Kailey Hyman, Katie Maguire, Casey Hartnett, Chris Jericho
Written by: Damien Leone
Directed by: Damien Leone
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 138
Date: 10/06/2022
IMDB

Terrifier 2 (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Thorny Clown

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The heinous Art the Clown returns in this intensely gory sequel that tries much harder, and is much smarter, than the first, using its 138-minute running time to establish more memorable characters.

A year has passed since Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) committed his brutal slayings. Now, he has somehow come back — accompanied by a ghostly, demonic young girl clown (Georgia MacPhail) — and returns to Miles County just in time for Halloween. He begins his killings once again, but soon he turns his sights to siblings Sienna (Lauren LaVera) and Jonathan (Elliott Fullam).

Living with their harried single mother (Sarah Voigt), Sienna is working on an intricate fantasy costume based on drawings their late father had made, while Jonathan has more morbid obsessions. On Halloween night, Sienna goes out partying, but when Jonathan is kidnapped by the clowns, she must head to the old, abandoned amusement park and try to save the day.

It seems as if writer/director Damien Leone paid attention to the reviews of Terrifier — including claims of a wandering or nonexistent storyline and characters — and knuckled down to do better on Terrifier 2. Right away, it's easy to see what a great new character Sienna is; her warrior costume is only half of it. We get plenty of downtime to see how she interacts with her family and friends, arguing, talking, laughing, etc. We know who she is, and human life begins to matter more here.

Additionally, the movie is clever enough to ask why we like and watch slasher movies. It has several subtle moments of sly commentary, such as when a young boy sees Art holding a severed head in a Spirit Halloween-type store, and utters, "cool!" Characters also think it's cool when Art serves them candy from a (different) severed head, which they obviously believe is fake.

Earlier movie slashers like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Leatherface have become iconic, and can readily be found in costume shops, but Art's killings arguably go much, much further, with so much more blood and gore. Art doesn't even seem evil; he grins and takes great joy in his work. So where do we draw the line between being entertained and being horrified? Terrifier 2 certainly takes a strong stomach, but it's also surprisingly thoughtful.

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