Terrifier 2 is twice the ludicrous amount of gore and twice as much patchy assembly.
Published on April 19, 2023
Rating 2.5 /5
I was not a fan of the first Terrifier movie. It felt like a routine slasher where more work was put into the look of its antagonist Art The Clown, and his kills than anything else. It wasn’t exactly a terrible slasher considering how hard it tried with its gory kills, but that’s perhaps the only memorable aspect. Now comes Terrifier 2, which promises to be bigger and bolder than the first film. And while it certainly does amp up the blood and guts to barf-bag levels of grotesqueness, it also meanders around its gore with a flimsy narrative that goes on way too long.
Art the Clown returns in a fashion typical for many slasher villains who get a sequel. Some mysterious force resurrects him from the dead, leading to a brutal end for the unfortunate coroner. The clown escapes and ends up making friends with a weird clown girl, although it appears the girl is more in his mind if we’re to believe the opening kill at a laundromat.
Meanwhile, teenager Sienna Shaw is gearing up for Halloween with the most elaborate of costumes. However, Her plans feel threatened by her overly protective mother, Barbara, and her massacre-obsessed younger brother Jonathan. Jonathan has been looking at the drawings of his late father and finds illustrations of gruesome deaths and Art the Clown. He’ll also witness the sight of Art the Clown at school, playing with a dead animal that Jonathan gets blamed for. In addition to witnessing Art in reality, Sienna also has nightmares of the killer in the form of a warped TV show. There’s also some weird magic involving angles and swords.
However, All of that setup is just weird for weirdness' sake, doing little to tie a plot together or highlight a thematic element. It’s as if the filmmakers loved that quote from David Lynch about never fully explaining the surreal aspects. The difference is that Lynch feels like he’s building a tone and something worth munching on in the mind. Terrifier 2 treats these nightmare states and stagings more like filler, the croutons before the bloody salad.
For some, the violence is all that matters, and Terrifier 2 has a buffet of brutality. Skin is torn, guts are torn out, eyes slit, heads decapitated, etc. Art treats every kill like a performance, silently showcasing his gritty smile as he seeks dark laughs amid his tortures. There are a lot of techs placed into these rather disgusting deaths, that I almost appreciate the film’s vigor for the violence. But this film runs well over two hours long. And at some point, all the blood and guts get monotonous. There are only so many times you can watch Art tear up skin until you wish he’d find a new bit.
Terrifier 2 is twice the ludicrous amount of gore and twice as much patchy assembly. It’s a film that seems more interested in creepy scenes for Art to occupy than ever making him all that compelling a killer. The ultimate conclusion of Art being defeated by a somewhat literal avenging angel is quite neat, but everything is so inexplicable in this picture that it comes off as sloppy as its blood-soaked sets. It has all the allure of eating an entire bucket of Halloween candy and then throwing it up, making you question why you ever wanted to consume that much.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.