You know, I had avoided Terrifier before this day – and challenge. I had heard from the horror community about its ultra violence, I knew that the character Art the Clown featured in an anthology by the same writer-director, But whenever I saw it scrolling the horror genre via Netflix, I just couldn’t be bothered throwing myself through more torture porn.
But, y’know, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.
It’s as low budget, cheap and nasty as something as low budget and cheap and nasty from the 80’s – but Damien Leone knows this and he’s betting you do too and hey, it actually works for the film, bringing out what little charm the film has for the type of film it is. If you’re the right type of horror fan, you might just feel nostalgic.
Adding to that, David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown is incredibly effective. It’s as much as a physical performance, I think, as any other Clown in cinema. I mean, his whole body is put into it, from the movements to the tiny bicycle to the creative decision to never have him make a sound. He’s truly the highlight, but you knew that as he’s on the cover art.
It’s a shame, then, that the story for him isn’t as nearly effective. There’s initially a fun build up and release of tension – and there’s a steady amount of black humour that works – but then the film slows down considerably and the writing focuses on other aspects in this world, feeling suited to more of an anthology than a feature film.
By the time the last victim of Art the Clown came along, I was pretty bored by what was happening. It was creative in terms of effects – especially for such a shoe-string budget I’m sure – but there was a lot of repetition to be had and that wore me down quick in these circumstances.
If you’re a fan of seedy horror and the cheap nasties from dog years ago, Terrifier will no doubt appease your interests. It’s certainly high energy and wild in parts until it hits mid way.