22 April 2023

Terrifier 2

I don’t think any filmmaker has ever championed the joys of cruelty to the degree of Terrifier progenitor Damien Leone. In terms of gleeful sadism and torture portrayed in exuberant gore, Terrifier 2 matches its predecessors, All Hallows’ Eve and Terrifier.  Art the Clown is back to humiliate, eviscerate, mutilate and decapitate several unlucky citizens of Miles County on Halloween.  In one of the film's merriest moments of mischief, Art uses the hollowed out head of one of his victims as a candy bowl for trick-or-treaters.

In addition to Leone's trademark haute couture gore, Terrifier 2 also features his garish sets and grindhouse aura.  But to me, one of the most interesting aspects of Leone's Terrifier trilogy is Art the Clown's chief enemies are middle class families, and he depicts their homes as drab, artless, mean spaces where parents and children grate on each other nearly to the point of hatred.  Indeed, these working class Americans are almost as angry as Art, but completely lack his capacity for joy.  

Terrifier 2 brings a new and highly successful addition to the Terrifier cinematic universe.  This time around Art is aided in his bloody high jinx by *the little pale girl,* the ghost of a 10-year-old rape/murder victim (whether she was raped/murdered by Art the Clown is unclear). The pale clown-costumed tween is not so much an ingenue as an injure-you cheerleader who roots on Art in his Halloween murder spree.  

There's really only one bummer to Terrifier 2, but unfortunately it's big enough to make the film less enjoyable than its predecessors.  The acting by two of the main characters is godawful.  A person named Sarah Voigt plays the mother of the middle class family targeted by Art, and she's off-key in every scene she's in.  Her character is scripted with a couple moments of redeeming human emotion, but this Voigt person plays them like some rookie violinist practicing on a violin with only one string.  Voigt is such a horrible actor, as the movie progresses you cannot wait for Art the Clown to slowly tear her limb-from-limb. . .alas, her character is one of Art's quickest, most painless deaths.  

The other acting bummer is the lad who plays the kid brother in the middle class family.  He's inept, but at least he's not as gratingly annoying as Voigt.  You just wish there was a vintage Edward Furlong laying around somewhere that Damien Leone could have dusted off.

The *final girl* of the middle class family is played by Lauren LeVera, and she is merely OK.  Regrettably, none of the new cast members, save Amelie McLain as *the little pale girl,* have the charm of Terrifier's trio of female leads.

But I understand discussing the acting talent in a highly stylized exercise in gratified gore is nitpicking, at best, and should not be taken as a caution against its viewing.  Terrifier 2 is highly recommended.