I don't know a single person who actually likes clowns, but if you're one of the people out there who is scared of clowns you might want to skip this review. If you're sticking around, welcome! Terrifier is one of those indie darlings you might have heard me mention before on our main show. Written and directed by Damien Leone, Terrifier creates a feature-length film out of a character from the horror anthology All Hallow's Eve, also written and directed by Leone. Can a character out of an anthology be interesting enough to carry an entire movie? More importantly, is Terrifier terrifying? Well, let's dive in and find out. Spoilers ahead, and a quick shout out to Shane Cronican of the Man Corner for suggesting this movie to me. Now then, on with the show!
As I mentioned, Terrifier is a 2018 indie horror by Damien Leone. This being an indie movie there are no recognizable faces, but the key performance here is that of David Howard Thornton who plays Art the Clown. With this being a callback to traditional 80's slasher films, his performance either makes or breaks the movie and I'll be up front about it, he's amazing. He has zero lines of dialogue throughout the entire movie so he has to rely entirely on body language an emoting and let me tell you, he can emote like none other. I mean, just look at his face!
Wait, not that face. That's the actor without makeup and regardless of how handsome he might be that's the wrong face. Look at this face!
Now, I could spend this entire review talking about just this character, like how he has a scene where he goes full Buffalo Bill, or how he plays along with other characters as part of his gag, but there's other things to talk about. Let's get into the story.
We open with a 60 Minutes style interview between the host and some super disfigured girl. The girl is the sole survivor of a massacre that the killer allegedly escaped from. After the interview, the host is on the phone mocking the girl for being disfigured which prompts the disfigured girl to kill the host? Terrifier then cuts abruptly two a pair of girls that are out and about on Halloween night after a night of drinking, and to sober up they decide to go get some pizza. From there they meet Art the Clown and what follows is your by the numbers slasher movie. He stalks them, kills them, kills anyone who gets in his way, etc. One of the girls' sister shows up like halfway through the movie after both of the other girls have already died and she becomes the main character facing off against Art. By the end of the movie he almost kills her but the police arrive and Art kills himself. Then we find out that this entire movie was a flashback and the dead girl's sister is the disfigured girl from the beginning of the movie! OoOoOoOoOoOoOoO!!
Now, I will admit that the plot is kind of a mess and has more than a few cliche moments, and none of the victims are particularly developed or interesting, but this is a throwback to classic slashers so that isn't necessarily important. This movie shines in two very specific areas: Art, and violence. I wish I had a clip to show you but this is a pretty graphic movie so the clips I want to show you aren't available, but the highlight of this movie for me is a scene that involves a certain bone saw followed by a certain hilarious selfie. I will say that at the time of this writing Terrifier is streaming on Netflix so you have no reason not to go watch it right now. Unless you've already watched it, in which case you know what scene I'm talking about.
On the technical side of things Terrifier is a very serviceable movie. The camerawork was very good and lingers on the violence, which is what I want in movies like this. It doesn't go to the extreme of the "torture porn" movies of the mid-2000s but it's violent enough to be effective. Most of the movie takes place indoors and the lighting was pretty dim, so it can be hard to see at times which does hinder the movie, if only a little.
Overall, Terrifer is a brutal, fun slasher movie and it looks like slashers are having a resurgence which for me is very exciting. What did you think of Terrifier? Leave me a comment with your thoughts and we'll talk about it!