New Horror Releases: Terrifier (2018) - Reviewed

Imagine that it is Halloween. A couple of locals rent out that creepy old building down the street and convert it into a haunted house for the night. You and your friends decide to go and check it out. As you make your way through you find yourself far more spooked than you could have imagined. You know exactly when someone is going to jump out and scare you but you are always terrified when they do. You come out of the haunted house pleasantly surprised considering that there really wasn't much to it; just atmosphere and a very creepy clown. Still, it made for the perfect ghoulish experience.

A stroll through a low budget haunted house is exactly what it is like watching Terrifier. It is simple and fun textbook horror that effectively borrows from it’s slasher film predecessors. The film takes place on Halloween night inside a rat infested abandoned apartment building where a sadistic clown called Art hunts the innocent victims locked inside. The kills are brutal and the characters are quite interchangeable. It’s a modern homage to that classic slasher formula that even with all it’s quips still finds a way to feel fresh.

Art the Clown is terrifying. Truly. And that does actually say a lot when it feels like the horror genre (as well as alleyways and grade schools) have seen a fair share of clowns in the past couple of years. Of course clowns will never stop being scary just based on their aesthetic alone. Still, it really takes something to introduce a brand new clown onto the scene that feels completely authentic rather than reintroduce clowns that we all already know and love/hate (Pennywise, Joker, etc). Art feels different. He feels new. He’s a dangerous, maniacal, and utterly silent sadistic killing machine. His presence is unnerving and original. I imagine seeing a fair share of Arts come Halloween time this year, whether that be with people familiar with the film that features him or just with those who have seen his picture somewhere. Art’s appearance has a certain quality to it that gives it the potential to be iconic.

Aside from Art’s excellent design and the classic horror atmosphere, Terrifier does suffer a little bit on some technical levels. The heavily contrasted lighting may have been apart of the tone director Damien Leone was going for, but it was easy to be distracted by the bright lights and heavy blackness in certain moments of the film. The acting, for the most part, is quite sub-par especially to David Howard Thornton’s chillingly flamboyant performance as Art. The movie overall appears quite apologetic in being a classic horror throwback. But it gets right the most important aspects of a bloody slasher film. Terrifier isn't out to be transcendent in the genre rather than just being a good bloody time. In that respect, it most certainly delivers. 

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-Holly Glinski