A messy plot, but better than the first

Terrify 2 is an interesting film in that it tries to build on what made the first film so popular – the extreme amounts of crap – and tries to add story to it. The gore succeeds, as it did the first time. The story… not so much.

Picking up right where we left off after the first one TerrifyArt the clown (David Howard Thornton) busy killing the coroner in the morgue. From there he goes to a laundromat, strips off his bum and washes his clown costume. As he waits, he sees a little girl dressed remarkably like himself, and the two begin to sleep together. When another patron who had been dozing off wakes up, he sees a nude art playing pattycake to herself, suggesting that this little girl is all in Art’s mind. The laundromat’s patron is killed before Art leaves.


A year later, Art the Clown is gone, already little more than a local boogeyman. Sienna (Lauren LaVera) and younger brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam) discuss their Halloween plans with their mother, and Jonathan wants to go dressed as Clown Art. Both are horrified at the thought, but Mom chalks it up to Jonathan just going through a “weird phase.” Their father killed himself some time ago and they are still grieving the loss.

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At this point, there are a lot of story points mixed in with the gory murder sequences, and honestly, I have no idea what’s going on. Sienna has an extended nightmare about Art the Clown, which ends with him setting a group of people on fire. In her room, a set of feather wings she made for her Halloween costume catches fire, almost setting the whole house on fire. A sword her father gave her was untouched by the fire. Later, the sword will become important to an incomprehensible supernatural story point.

The next day at school, Jonathan is out on a field trip when he sees Art and the little girl playing with a dead possum in the middle of the school hallway. They throw it at him, Jonathan runs and he gets suspended for vandalizing the school. Later, he finds a news clipping in his father’s sketchbook about a young girl who was mutilated outside a carnival (the carnival Sienna is later lured to). This was the young girl who played with Art. As far as I can tell, Art, Sienna, and Jonathan can all see and interact with this little girl, but they’re the only ones.

Besides a really disjointed post-credits scene, there’s nothing else I can pull back from the “story” of this movie to share without “spoil” the “plot.” I use these terms loosely because really, director Damien Leone should have just stuck with what works. The first Terrify was under 90 minutes and had no plot: it was basically just Art the Clown terrorizing whoever he came across on Halloween night.

Terrify 2 clocks in at nearly two and a half hours, so they need to fit some plot in there to justify the extended length. The problem is that the plot makes no sense. There are many things could be interesting, it just doesn’t go anywhere. There are hints that Sienna and Jonathan’s father is far more messed up than just depressed, but aside from some dialogue hinting that he has a tumor that caused him to act abusively, we learn nothing. Then there are hints that Sienna and Jonathan have psychiatric disorders – perhaps inherited from father, and most obviously because they are able to see the little girl clown – which ended up going nowhere.

Finally, there was the weird supernatural ending, which I won’t spoil if you actually care about the story. But it made no sense, not in this world, and not shoehorned into the end of this otherwise non-supernatural story.

But I will now focus on the part of the film that I liked: the deaths. Because really, if you liked the first one Terrifythat’s what you’re getting at Terrify 2 to. The deaths are particularly high. Brutal, violent and really, really bloody. Just ugly. The only thing that stops them from being nauseating is the fact that it’s pretty obviously fake. It’s still really good prosthetic work and I give props to the team for doing most, if not all, of the FX practically. It felt like an old one HG Lewis movie, cranked up to 11. I mean, Art literally reaches into most of his victims and pulls out their organs and splashes around in their blood. He really enjoys playing in the bodies of his victims. If grindhouses were still a thing, this would be a headliner. My favorite kill was probably Allie (that’s not a spoiler; it’s a Terrify movie – everyone dies!). So keep an eye on it.

Terrify 2 is at its best when it does what we’re here to see: big, bloody murder. But the attempt at a story is just atrocious. Terrify 2 trying to be bigger and better than its predecessor, when really we just wanted more of the same.

Evaluation: B- (A for gore; D for story)

Terrifier 2 hits theaters on October 6 from Cinedigm in association with Iconic Events.

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