Written and directed by Damien Leone, “Terrifier” featured Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) going after two girls, Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran), on Halloween night. At around the 45-minute mark, Leone delivered its primary twist: the film’s sole survivor wasn’t Tara, a character we had been following from the very beginning, but her younger sister Vicky (Samantha Scaffidi). And then he proceeded to throw yet another twist by revealing that Art wasn’t just some maniac in a clown costume but a supernatural being that could not be killed even after shooting a bullet through his brain. “Terrifier 2” finds him going on yet another rampage on yet another Halloween night. While his victims are mostly random, he does set his sights on the Shaw family, which comprises Sienna (Lauren LaVera), Jonathan (Ellitt Fullam), and Barbara (Sarah Voigt).
Major Spoilers Ahead
Are The Shaw Siblings Connected To Art The Clown In Any Way?
Since the proverbial (and supernatural) cat is out of the bag, Leone doubles down on the franchise’s otherworldly aspects in “Terrifier 2,” beginning with The Little Pale Girl/Emily Crane (Amelie McLain), who appears in the laundromat where Art gets his costume cleaned. Two things should be mentioned here. Firstly, for the most part, Leone makes it seem that Crane is a figment of Art’s imagination. But she ends up being more than that. Secondly, given how macabre and uninhibited Leone is in his approach toward horror, I was scared for a few hot seconds that the film was about to insinuate that there’s a forbidden, messed-up relationship between Art and Crane. Thankfully, that’s not the case. The revelation of Art’s masterpiece is far more messed up and puke-inducing. Anyway, before getting to all that, we are introduced to the Shaws. Barbara works in customer care. Sienna is a master costume designer and has a dope Wonder Woman/Hawkgirl/Xena dress ready for Halloween. And then there’s Jonathan, who wants to go trick-or-treating as Art.
Jonathan’s obsession with the clown is understandably disturbing because he wants to dress up as a killer that exists in the film’s reality. But it’s not an inaccurate observation given the popularity of true crime documentaries and people fawning over actors playing real-life serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy, thereby implicitly fawning over said serial killers. Thankfully, while fixing a part of his costume, Sienne manages to knock some sense into him while he commends her for going as a character that their deceased father once drew in his journal. This happy moment doesn’t last long as Art apparently haunts Sienna in her dreams and destroys the wings of her costume by somehow igniting the candles around it. By the way, it’s revealed later on that the massacre at the Clown Cafe wasn’t just a bad nightmare Sienna had, but something that actually happened. It’s totally up to your interpretation of whether the Clown Cafe is a real place or a different realm where Art commits all kinds of crimes and draws his powers from. My vote is for the latter.
Now, in the opening scene of “Terrifier,” we see Art watching Vicky’s interview on the television and then preparing to go on his rampage. But, if it wasn’t clear already, “Terrifier 2” clarifies that that’s actually the set-up for his second round of rampage. And it seems like this time around, Art has developed the capability to be at two places at once. Because he and Crane appear as semi-physical apparitions to haunt Jonathan with that dead possum and then appear in the flesh in the store to spook Sienna out (and then brutally kill the receptionist and show his decapitated head to an innocent child). Or he could’ve gone to the school to get to Jonathan and then showed up at the shop for Sienna. Or those two events occur at very different times of the day. That said, when Art’s hauntings are combined with the knowledge that Sienna and Jonathan’s father drew Art and his murders (and even predicted Art’s demise), it proves that the Shaws are supernaturally connected to Art’s journey of carnage.
Does Sienna Manage To Locate Where Art Is Holding Jonathan Captive?
Despite all the red flags blaring in everyone’s faces, Sienna decides to dress up and go out for Halloween. Art does what he does best by killing off random people and those in Sienna’s friend circle, starting with Allie (Casey Hartnett). I don’t think it’s possible to properly describe what Art does to her and then to her mother after she finds Allie in that state. It’s better if you witness it for yourself. What I can say, though, is that the whole sequence is a terrific display of practical effects, acting, direction, sound design, and cinematography. Because I can’t even begin to imagine the logistics of doing everything practically and resetting the scene every time something goes marginally wrong. That’s basically why a lot of horror movies (or movies, in general) go for CGI blood or other visual effects. But Leone and his team go the extra mile and do almost everything practically, and the results are right there for everyone to see. That’s why the moment when Art gives candies out of Allie’s mother’s head feels disgusting and disturbing instead of ridiculous.
Coming back to the narrative, Sienna goes out to party with Brooke (Kailey Hyman) and Jeff (Charlie McElveen). Brooke slips drugs into Sienna’s drink, and that blends with the medicines she’s taking for her anxiety, thereby causing her to see glimpses of Crane at the party. That triggers a panic attack, and she essentially forces both Brooke and Jeff to take her home. So, here’s where the supernatural connections become more apparent as Crane appears before Jonathan, while Art shows up inside the Shaw household to blow Barbara’s head off. After a disgusting dinner table scene and a fight with Jonathan, Art abducts the kid and takes him to the old carnival place. And Crane (or Crane’s ghost, if we are being specific) talks to Sienna in Jonathan’s voice and tells her to come to the carnival because he’s been “abandoned” by his friends there. Naturally, Sienna forces Brooke and Jeff to go to the carnival because she’s afraid for him. When Sienna goes in there to look for Jonathan, Art attacks Brooke and Jeff. Brooke does put up a good fight, but it’s Art we are talking about here who absolutely decimates her.
Sienna discovers Brooke’s dead body with Art and Jonathan standing near it. She tells him to run and decides to engage Art. But that goes horribly wrong as Art beats the living hell out of Sienna. This scene alone makes “Terrifier 2” one of the best movies of the year. First of all, there’s the set design and attention to detail. Don’t you feel like you are in that grimy, bloody, sticky bathroom, and you can essentially smell the heat coming off of the dead bodies? Have you felt that way while watching any other movie this year? I didn’t. Secondly, the action choreography. Kudos to LaVera and Thornton for doing a significant chunk of their stunts. But the stunt performers, especially Leah Voysey (who is LaVera’s stunt double), do deserve all the applause for their work. It’s so brutal that I hope that there aren’t any behind-the-scenes stories of the stunt performers getting grievously injured. And thirdly, there is Leone’s direction and editing, as well as George Steuber’s cinematography, which takes the relentlessness of the scene to the next level. They manage to conjure the perfect mixture of despair and anger towards Art the Clown, along with the hope that Sienna is going to emerge victorious.
‘Terrifier 2′ Ending Explained: Does Sienna Defeat Art The Clown? How Does The Mid-Credits Scene Setup’ Terrifier 3′?
While searching for the exit, Art again corners Sienna and Jonathan and uses his bladed whip to hurt Sienna. It’s gruesome and emotional because you can see the kind of pain Sienna is in. At the same time, it shows how far Sienna is ready to go as a sister in order to prevent her brother (and the only other surviving member of her family) from getting killed. Sienna manages to counter Art and apparently takes him down. But Art jumps back up and proceeds to choke Sienna out. Jonathan gets to Art’s ankle gun and takes him down (yes, again). When Sienna comes to, she sees her mother waking her up. However, it turns out to be an illusion created by Art so that he can ambush Sienna into witnessing the death of her mother. Sienna’s shock gives Art enough time to knock out Jonathan and take him to a secluded place, stab Sienna with the sword that he acquired from her home, and then throw her into a pit. But instead of falling onto another floor, she drops into a water tank set in the aforementioned Clown Cafe.
Art munching on Jonathan’s hand can be taken literally because he is that kind of a freak. But Sienna’s subsequent recovery from the stab and her ascending from the water tank can be looked at in a metaphorical sense. In reality, she probably still has the wound. We just don’t see it because she isn’t feeling the pain. You can say that its subjective storytelling taken to its maximum. That said, Sienna reclaiming her sword and hacking off Art’s head seems very real again. The same goes for the ghost of Crane appearing in front of the Shaw siblings to take Art’s head and vanish away. Either way, Sienna’s whole ordeal is a brilliant subversion of the “final girl” trope. We’ve seen characters such as Laurie Strode (from the “Halloween” franchise) or Sally (from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) or Nancy (from “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) barely making it out alive or dying at the hands of their tormentor because that’s their fate. However, Sienna gets to take a beating from the monster that has haunted her and her family, and (partially) defeats it as well, thereby making her one of the best final girls in the horror genre.
The reason I said “partially defeats” is because Art isn’t actually dead. Come on, did you really think that Damien Leone wasn’t going to make a “Terrifier” trilogy after successfully making a sequel (that’s doing incredibly well at the box office)? What you can expect from “Terrifier 3,” is hinted at in the film’s mid-credits scene, where we see Vicky puking her guts out at the Miles County Psychiatric Hospital. Then she uses the blood coming out of her genitalia to write all kinds of abuses on the wall, along with the words “Vicky + Art,” with a heart drawn around it. Amidst all this mayhem, we get a Chris Jericho cameo (WWE fans know who he is). When the orderly comes to check on Vicky, she finds out that the patient has pulled Art’s head out of her belly and is cradling it like a baby. As the orderly cries out in terror, Art breaks out his signature smile while Vicky’s eyes start to glow like Crane’s. So, I don’t know the logistics of this particular pregnancy. But my best guess is that Crane’s ghost has somehow transferred Art’s head into Vicky and facilitated his rebirth. Is Art going to reunite with his old body, or is his body going to grow out of his head? Only Leone and “Terrifier 3” can answer that. I’ll be rooting for the latter to happen so that we can witness Art, with a baby body and an adult head, coming up with new ways to terrorize his victims.
“Terrifier 2” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Damien Leone.