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Directed by Damien Leone
Written by Damien Leone
Starring Jenna Kanell, Catherine Corcoran, Margaret Reed, Samantha Scaffidi, Katie Maguire, Pooya Mohseni, Gino Cafarelli, Sylvia Ward, Michael Leavy, Julie Asriyan, Matt McAllister, Xiomi Frans-Cuber, Cory DuVal, Erick Zamora, Phil Falcone, Gloria Jung, Alan Hasnas, & David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown!
Find out more about this film here
What I like most about doing these reviews is being able to watch a filmmaker develop from one film to the next and that’s just what Damien Leone and his crazy looking clown Art has done in a short four years. Leone unleashed Art in the confusing, but somewhat effective anthology ALL HALLOW’S EVE where the look of the clown himself was the scariest part of the film. The narrative was problematic and at times, almost impossible to follow, so despite some potent scares, the film didn’t really leave a lot of impact on me. Enter: TERRIFIER and it seems Leone has learned to reel in a tighter narrative around all of those potent chills and thrills and in the end, the film turns out to be much more entertaining from beginning to end.
A pair of girls are drunk and wandering the streets in search for something to eat when they happen across a particularly twisted looking clown named Art. After thinking the clown is cute when he follows them into a late night restaurant, all cuteness dissipates when the clown follows them to their car and traps them in a warehouse. Madness and much ultra-gore is unleashed.
While the plot of the film is simple, the thing Leone does right here is focus on the scares and the two girls who are trying to get away from him. The story actually takes a few unexpected twists and turns towards the end, but for the most part, this is your typical stalk n slasher flick.
Still, the visage of Art the Clown and the amplitude of the gore he unleashes is definitely something that will shock even the most hardcore of horror buffs. Leone knows how shocking it is to see blood spatter on stark white and ends up covering Art’s painted face with blood from head to toe by the end. Art’s antics are creepy too. He’s not a misunderstood or sad clown. Art is evil and knows it and while that doesn’t make him the most complex of movie monsters, it does make for a visual shock every time he is on the screen. Leone definitely wants to make a new horror icon with Art and he succeeds pretty well in this film from the Freddy-like retro opening to the over the top kills scattered throughout.
There were a few times when even I felt a bit uncomfortable with the gore here. There’s a reckless glee Art takes in dismembering his victims that might be too much for some. One woman is cut in half vertically with a saw starting much like a deer is skinned and gutted. It’s a horrifying scene that does not cut away much. It’s definitely a gore highlight, but really might activate the gag reflex in some. The sinister glee in which Art takes in these killings makes it all the more unsettling.
Still, TERRIFIER is able to construct quite a few scenes of sheer terror. The actresses involved (specifically the tiny but tough as nails Jenna Kanell) are all pretty fine at their craft and David Howard Thornton once again is great as Art. While the story is simple, Leone really delivers a kick to the gut with this film relying on the cast and the simple fact that, when done in the right way, clowns truly can be terrifying.
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