Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Movie Review: "Terrifier" (2017)

Director: Damien Leone
Year: 2017
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

A killer clown stalks some unfortunate victims on Halloween night.

"Halloween never disappoints, does it?" (Image Source)
Clowns are disturbing as hell, but few are as creepy as Art the Clown, who is featured in writer/director Damien Leone's "Terrifier." This is his third feature-length film. Leone has featured the menacing antagonist Art the Clown in the "Terrifier" short film, as well as "All Hallows Eve," a collection of his previously released shorts. This story takes place on Halloween night and centers on a pair of party girls named Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran), who have been out drinking and celebrating the holiday. Before heading home, the two stop in at a local pizza place to eat and sober up. It is at this pizza joint where they encounter a horrific looking clown, who seems completely fixated on one of them. After too much disturbing behavior, the clown is kicked out of the restaurant, and the girls think that's the end of it, that is until they arrive at their car and see their tires have been slashed. It isn't long before they learn that this clown is a murderous psychopath who is out to get them.
"I don't feel like dying tonight." (Image Source)
Many people in the cinephile community have been talking about "Terrifier." We love a good horror movie, even though we hate clowns. This is a throwback slasher film that dabbles in the torture-porn area of the horror genre. Art the Clown is, well, terrifying, with his jagged facial features, blackened teeth, high-arched eyebrows, and black and white color palette. He is an extremely sinister looking antagonist, and that's even before we get to the fact that he doesn't say a word the entire runtime. The way David Howard Thorn acts as Art the Clown is nothing short of brilliant in a disturbing sort of way. The manner in which he stares with his piercing eyes that penetrate through to the soul, the way he waves, how he smiles a crooked and screwed-up smile, how he mutilates people all without making a sound is downright scary. Speaking of mutilations, it's hard to find a horror film with as much graphic violence as "Terrifier." We envision many viewers getting turned off entirely by just one of the numerous kills here. There are copious amounts of blood, guts, and gore. It doesn't often rely on jump scares to try and startle the audience with loud noises. It relies on tension and the visually unsettling nature of what's going on on screen. The morbid visuals are the kind that will remain ingrained in your brain for years to come. We have a hunch you'll remember the sights and sounds made in "Terrifier" whenever you attempt to lull yourself into a false sense of security as you try to fall asleep. There are a few scenes here we won't soon forget. While a threatening, eerie antagonist is all well and good, the best part of "Terrifier" for us is that it constantly finds ways to chip at our preconceived notions about what it is going to be. Every damn time we guessed what was coming next, the opposite happened. Horror is often a genre that relies on a set structure, so it was refreshing to be proven wrong this time around.
"I guess the new neighbors weren't such a good idea after all." (Image Source)
If you are the type of person who is more into PG-13 ghost stories that rely on "boo" moments, or if you prefer slow-burn psychological horror flicks without all the gore and slasher elements, "Terrifier" is not the film for you. But, if you want to kick it old school with an 80's-style slasher flick about an unstoppable antagonist finding ways to slice and dice his victims, this simplistic but gruesome and frightful movie right up your alley. Most people may not give this film the time of day, but it did enough for us that it'll get added to our annual rotation.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.8/10
RT Rating: ~67%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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