TERRIFY (Review)

SYNOPSIS: On Halloween night, two women cross paths with Art the Clown, a sadistic killer.

While the second opus was recently released in the USA, triggering a buzz as only horror films can do (halfway between exaggeration and well-oiled marketing stunt) evoking a film as pushing certain limits of gore, Terrify has recently been available on the SVOD Shadowz platform. What is this first opus worth? Beginning with an interview scene showing what a victim looks like who has managed to escape the clutches of the film’s killer, the film tries from the start to show the physical aftermath of the acts of the psychopathic clown, implying the intense aspect of the rest of the feature film. However, it is clear that the film is not as gory as announced or mentioned. If a scene is particularly gory, the film does not directly show the acts of torture, only showing the face of the victim, witness or killer. And unfortunately, that’s about it in terms of gore. A form of disappointment, since the other scenes of violence remain either “classic” for this kind of film, or filmed off-camera. It must be said that, with the exception of an original torture, what inflicts Art, the killer clown, remains confusingly classic for a slasher. Moreover, the low number of victims prevents the thread from being more creative and original.

If we add a staging that is not necessarily inspired (this is the director’s second film Damien Leone) and an unconvincing cast, the film struggles to position itself as the new standard of the torture-porn genre, which the Saw saga will have democratized (for better and for worse). It must be said that betting only on incredibly predictable jump-scares and surprises that are not very present during the 80 minutes of the film is clearly not enough. Through all these elements, we have the impression that the film is that of a student of cinema, constrained by a low budget and who will not have been able to find a form of inventiveness to succeed in counterbalancing this crucial point.

Note in the few positive points the management of the killer. Mute, with an intense interpretation, he ends up setting up a form of general malaise, mainly coming from his facial expressions linked to his silence. This ambient malaise that sets in from the second half of the film is undeniably what keeps it from sinking into nothingness. Moreover, the look of the clown is quite interesting, it evolves over the course of the film, to accentuate the sadism of the character. Thanks to the gestures of the latter, the interpretation of the clown by David Howard Thornton clearly stands out against the rest of the cast.

Unless there is an upheaval between the first and the second opus, where the sequel would sublimate the original by its retrospective aspect, Terrify is for fans of the genre who are looking for a new kind of thrill after having had the opportunity to see all the nuggets of the same style. For the others, the film proves to be more than dispensable and many other unknown marvels deserve to be watched instead. Hoping that the second opus lives up to its reputation for its cinema release in early January.

Original Title: TERRIFIER

Directed by: Damien Leone

Cast: David Howard Thornton, Catherine Corcoran, Jenna Kanell…

Genre: Animation, Family

Released on: January 04, 2023 on VOD

Distributed by: –



TERRIFY (Review)