Imagine Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT as a silent killer clown instead, and minus with all the psychological underpinning. That’s pretty much sums up Art the Clown, the antagonist in Damien Leone’s Terrifier.
So, in this movie, the whole setup is basically about Art (David Howard Thornton) stalking three young women Tara (Jenna Kanell), Dawn (Catherine Corcoran) and Victoria (Samantha Scaffidi) on a Halloween night. The plot is as bare and minimal as it goes. It’s all about 82 minutes of stalking, slashing and screaming.
You gotta give credits to Leone for successfully evoking the no-holds-barred throwback to the ’80s slasher-horror genre. The ominous setting, the sadistic tone and even the washed-out cinematography are all on point. It reminds me of watching an old VHS tape from a video rental shop back in the day. Then, there’s the blood and gore that thankfully uses mostly practical effects with minimum CGI.
As for Art the Clown, his appearance alone is creepy enough that he could have been a new horror icon for today’s generation. Too bad his antagonist role has no depth and motivation whatsoever. He is just there to hunt his victims and kill them. Rinse and repeat. Besides, after watching his appearances in 2011’s short film of the same name and again in 2013’s All Hallows’ Eve, we basically learn nothing about him.
Perhaps someone should remind Damien Leone that a good screenplay still matters. Even his primary target to deliver a pure, simple and unadulterated ’80s-style horror picture needs something supportive to justify the whole idea. It doesn’t help either when Terrifier feels more like a short film stretched forcefully into a feature-length movie.
Visually speaking, Terrifier is simply top-notch for a low-budget independent feature. It’s just too bad the plot and most of the characters are criminally undermined.