I noticed the artwork for the Terrifier a few times on my Recommended List on Netflix. To be honest, I don’t take many of Netflix’s recommendations to heart, nor do I take a chance on much of their horror offerings. Netflix (and Amazon Prime) has become a breeding ground for unimaginative, low budget crap, so despite having a creepy looking clown on the cover, I had no intention on watching it.
But then something happened last fall over a couple of weeks. A few message boards I browse and my Twitter feed started mentioning the Terrifier. Apparently the film was pretty good, and I found myself needing to escape from life for 90 minutes so I decided to turn on the Terrifier in September 2018 and see what all the fuss was about. The movie did the trick. It’s not amazing or ground breaking, but it’s a lot of fun.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A demented clown torments a small part of town near Halloween.
What I Liked About It:
-Art the Clown is flat out creepy. He’s a clown and a mime, and has wonderful facial expressions and creepy movements. The performance by David Howard Thorton is memorable, and if there is anything to take from this movie it’s that Art the Clown has the potential to be a horror icon and center for a horror franchise.
-The main two characters Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (Catherine) really grew on me. At first, they seemed like two cliché characters that would be killed off quickly, but over time I grew to really enjoy their interaction and friendship.
-The special effects were pretty good. They reminded me a lot of the low budget horror from the 80’s, but definitely had more polish and detail.
-I enjoyed the music. It was a little weird in spots, but it gave the film a unique feel. None of it was really memorable, but I did enjoy what was put on the screen.
What I Didn't Like About It:
-The first ten minutes of this movie are horrible. I went in blind and had no idea what the Terrifier was and if it hadn’t for the good reviews by a few trusted individuals, I would have turned it off. It’s low budget and has a grindhouse look and feel. In a way it reminded me of watching Clerks for the first time. It took a few minutes to realize that this was the look and the acting I was going to get and I needed to accept it and enjoy the show.
-This film is violent. I went into it thinking it was a simple slasher, and it is, but it’s not afraid to show you all the gore. I can see eighteen year old me absolutely loving this film for all its crazy over the top deaths, but at thirty-four I prefer my horror a little less exploitative. That’s not to say it went too far or was too out of control, but I’m a fan of less is more.
-The first two-thirds of Terrifier is really good, but without a compelling storyline to keep you watching, the chase does grow a little old after a while. If the characters had been fleshed out a little more and introduced a little earlier, it might have kept me on the edge of my seat. Instead, I sat back just waiting to see how they planned to top the previous kill.
-The supporting cast went ranged from damn good (the pizzeria owner) to downright terrible (the pizza clerk.)
-Art the Clown was introduced in the short film Terrifier (2011) and was also featured in All Hallows Eve (2013).
I read somewhere that the Terrifier was “a costume in search of a plot” and I can’t argue with that. This movie is basically one very long chase scene and there is little effort put into telling a compelling story or developing characters. And you know what? That’s okay. Not every film needs a perfect three act structure. I really enjoyed my time with the Terrifier. It’s gory and features a very memorable villain. It’s no Halloween, but in a world where we rarely see slashers anymore, I enjoyed Terrifier for what it was.
If you can tolerate some bad acting and a low budget, Terrifier is an easy recommendation from me. It’s a three out of five, and worth your time if you like slashers, clowns, or gore.