REVIEW: Terrifier 2 (2022)

dir. Damien Leone

Following the events of the Miles County Massacre, Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) is resurrected by a supernatural entity and – accompanied by the spectre of a little girl also dressed in black clown paint – the stage is set for another killer rampage, this time on halloween night.

As with the first film the objects of Art’s wrath appear – on the surface at least – to be random: unlucky teens who pique his interest. What marks this sequel out however, aside from its whopping 140 minute runtime, is how these characters are developed. Lauren LaVera in particular is excellent as new final girl Sienna, a young woman dealing with the death of her father with a level of authenticity that genuinely surprises. For this alone the film would make an interesting double-bill with Halloween (2018), both taking 31st October as a site on which to battle past trauma.

Other positives include some tonal changes which shift the narrative in unexpected directions, with fantasy beats flying into strange and welcome territory especially in the last act.

But the original Terrifier was famous for the gore, and here director Leone doubles down. There’s nothing as offensive as the ‘splitting’ scene, but nevertheless sequences certainly revel in female pain, one bedroom-set-torture scene seemingly never-ending. Add to this moments which mirror real life violence – including an acid attack and a sequence where Art whips a child, even as a woman throws herself between them to try and protect – and there remains a gross whiff of misogyny throughout. The practical effects may be impressive but it’s difficult to escape the feeling that this film hates women.

Substantially better than the original then, Terrifier 2 nevertheless falls well short. For a franchise so self-aware of its slasher heritage, it apparently continues to be unable to tell the difference between edge-lord tastelessness and fun-time shocks.

© Tim Coleman


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