2016’s Terrifier is a dark, gory slasher film from director Damien Leone and is also a sequel to the directors previous work, the horror anthology film All Hallows Eve. This lean film gives us the homicidal exploits of Art the Clown, a lanky, painted-up clown that enjoys defiling public restrooms, playing with dolls and engaging in an inappropriate amount of torture.
You hear on and on again nowadays about how some films “know what they are”. You hear this mostly when a gory and unsettlingly hilarious horror film becomes popular or when the most recent John Wick film is released. But Art the Clown’s bloody campaign to kill off a few young women in a crappy (and shockingly empty) apartment/office building. One of those young women is Tara, played by the lovely Jenna Kanell, more on her later because the real star here is Art the Clown, played by David Howard Thornton.
Art has no chill for your dislike of a good stabbing. I don’t know what it is about clown but lately, and especially when this film (and IT) were being released, there has been a lot of people dressing up as clowns and just standing around, for the most part. But Art takes things to the next level as he stabs, saws, slashes, crunches and shoots his way through virtually anyone unlucky enough to be caught in his path, all while smiling silently. For whatever reason, that toothy grin is the least of our worries as we’re shown that Art can be truly deplorable in what he’s willing to do to the human body while also making the case for Terrifier being the best Joker movie we’re probably ever going to get.
But as cool as this film is, as much of a good time I had with it, there is one small flaw here, and it involves Tara, arguably the main character of the movie. I’ll just be honest with you here, Jenna Kanell is fun to watch. Every time she’s on screen, you’re invested in her fight for survival against a physically superior person that she probably won’t escape. But you see this photo, the one on the right, this never happens in the film. The viewer is lead to believe it’ll happen, but it never does. You’ll know what I’m talking about when it happens, and it does serve the grand purpose of showing just how great a character Art is, and what he’s willing to do to succeed, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t shocked by what Tara goes through here. Good for you Ms. Kanell, you made me feel for a horror movie trope.
With all that being said, you soon come to realize that Art the Clown is the reason to see this film and I for one am glad that I did. There is something great about a good slasher film that knows better than to just rely on the prerequisite of blood, boobs and babes…even though this film has all of them. While this film may slip up with an over the top ending, there are many more wins than losses here, especially when you learn how the very first shot, ties into the very last shot. At the end of the day, I recommend you check out this bloody gem on Netflix, and if you’re interested in purchasing the Blu-ray, you can find it by clicking here.