Horror on and off the Screen: “Terrifier 2”


Jasmine McIntosh

Building on “Terrifier 1,” writer and director Damion Leone creates an intense and skin-crawling atmosphere throughout “Terrifier 2,” leaving viewers in suspense.

Abraham Scales, Staff Reporter

The movie reviewed is not rated and contains graphic content

The long awaited breakout film, “Terrifier 2,” made its theatrical debut on Oct. 6, 2022, led by writer and director Damion Leone. Coming six years after its 2016 predecessor, “Terrifier,” this passion project film continues to show off the abstract and impressive talents of Leone, his production crew, and star actor David Thornton who will be premiering for the second time playing the deranged joker known only as “Art the Clown.”

This movie relies intensely on its incredible visual and sound effects, creating a violent gore-heavy environment. However to call this movie just “violent” would be an understatement, as Leone manages to put the word violent to shame. 

Building on the dense reputation of grotesque body horror and suspenseful psychological terror of the past “Terrifier” films, Leone’s team of special “FX” artists not only pass the bar, but smash it in two, all thanks to the creative and intricate mind of Leone himself. In fact, he says he even held back during production of the film because of the gruesome nature of his ideas. In an interview with Leone before the movie was released, he said, “[there were] three scenes in “Terrifier 2,” where I thought of taking it to a much worse place, but I was afraid of really ostracizing the audience.” 

But, the body horror in this showcase isn’t just limited to the screen. Theater goers across the country experienced a torrent of physical reactions from those who watched the movie including vomiting and even passing out. I personally experienced a small wave of sickness when I was in the theater, and witnessed many throw up in their popcorn bucket or leave the theater altogether. The cleaning crew certainly had a lot on their plate that night.

When you’re not crawling in your skin at the movie’s gore, you’ll spend your time confused, trying to understand the story being told.

Unlike the first time around, a large portion of this movie’s beginning is set aside for character development. Instead of being promptly introduced to the film’s victims with no prior explanation and quickly being thrown into the action as seen in “Terrifier,” “Terrifier 2” offers the viewer an opportunity to try and connect with the characters through a more in-depth story, but fails to keep up the story in a way that makes sense. At first the characters are fairly likable and make decisions that are reasonable to the viewer, but as the movie reaches its ending, actions and events become too unexplainable to be enjoyable.

The main selling point of “Terrifier 2” is its spine-chilling nature and imaginative scenes. So, to find a movie filled with hollow plot holes was disappointing and largely unnecessary. Instead of the exposition and character building moments adding depth and engagement to the movie, they slowed it down and took attention away from the greater aspects of the film. If there was more time spent filling plot holes and tears in the script, it would do a lot for this movie and vastly improve the flow of dialogue and events.

One of the standout aspects of the movie for me personally is the passion and personality David Thornton is able to give his villain, Art, who never speaks a single word during the entire film.

The unnerving aura that exudes from Art is almost tangible through the screen. The unfiltered actions and dark comedy of someone who has long lost their mind creates an uncomfortable but almost likable character. Art seems to find genuine enjoyment and comedy in his actions, which emphasizes his twisted mind and is a breath of refreshing air; a glass of water that helps you swallow the pill that is the grotesque nature of the film.

Overall, while this movie lacks in the storytelling department, it more than makes up for it in others. If you can look past the muddled and confusing storyline, and have a strong stomach, this movie is a must watch. The intense physical reactions it has caused, incredible FX it produced, and the performance of Art the clown will cement this movie as a cult classic for years to come, and I wouldn’t suggest missing out (if you have the stomach that is).