Alright, after 2016’s Terrifier left me feeling pretty lukewarm, and the press surrounding the sequel was bad and annoying, I had pretty low expectations for the crowd-funded follow up. Add to that an eye-watering run time* (* for a movie like this) – at nearly two and a half hours – and I had some… concerns. Honestly, the red flags really do abound with this one. So, did I throw up and faint and feel deeply scandalized and traumatized? Is Art a new horror icon? Is the genre too gross? Lets find out, shall we?
To answer those questions first, in order, No, maybe, and no. Lets start with the negatives, because they do exist and I think it’s worth talking about. The first problem is the run time, look, as much fun as I had watching this movie, it’s too fucking long. It absolutely doesn’t have the same issues with pacing as the first, the pace is a bit better, but it does go on too long and spends a lot of time on lore that it never really pays off. If you had excised the dream sequences you likely wouldn’t have missed out on much, for example, but I get the sense that they were an idea for a short film that just got spliced into this one. They are definitely sequences but they don’t do a huge amount in main story, or if it does it goes over my head and doesn’t actually get resolved.
The star of the show, again, is David Howard Thorton as Art the Clown. The performance is solid, if maybe a bit tired because I watched them back to back essentially. He made me laugh on more than one occasion, particularly his scenes in the Halloween store are genuinely fun and bizarre. The rest of the cast is stronger here too, Lauren LaVera is great as Sienna. Her performance is a bit uneven, but honestly she really brings it in some very challenging scenes. It is absolutely clear that everyone is game for this and that goes a long way.
The reason, of course, that everyone is talking about this movie has to come back to the practical effects – which are on a whole other level this time around. The money the crowd funding made absolutely was well spent because there are some excellent effects throughout. Nothing so dIsgUsTiNg that I felt ill or anything, but it really cranks things up. Which absolutely is what needed to happen to make this superior to the original. One in particular that comes to mind has to be one of the dead characters in the bed, who I think is part stop motion, part puppet, and part the actress and it is genuinely a great, gross gag.
Something that feels worth mentioning here is a bit of respect paid to something that Terrifier does, or rather doesn’t do. A standard, and extremely off putting, trope of schlock movies like this is sexual violence; and Terrifier doesn’t do it at all, despite being a pretty shocking and violent thing, it never crosses that line and honestly, it makes the whole affair seem more mature and I give it a whole lot of credit for that. The reliance on rape as a plot device or a means of shocking is one of my least favourite things about movies that are almost exactly like this series, and this one really shows that its a lazy fucking crutch that we don’t need to do anymore.
This is, by a pretty wide margin, a better movie that the original, and I think that is going to actually kind of make it worse for some folks. There is a story that is being, at least, attempted, and while I’m not convinced it actually comes together I will give it extreme bonus points for an absolutely wild post-mid-credit sequence that proved all of my predictions wrong and redundant. If this upward trend continues, then I will expect some good things from the next one.
On an unrelated note, I just heard that David Howard Thorton will be donning the green furry mantel of the fucking Grinch in The Mean One, which… is going to be a weird thing that shouldn’t exist but I’m probably going to watch it anyways.
Terrifier 2, I must extremely begrudgingly say is great, and one of my favourite horror movies of 2022. Which is so annoying and I hate it. But I did love this movie. So.