The horrific phenomenon “Terrifier 2” arrives in French theaters

Preceded by its reputation as an unsustainable film across the Atlantic, Damien Leone’s ultra-gore slasher arrives in France this Wednesday. For the best or for the worst ?

How did a broke slasher ($250,000 budget) hit the headlines in the United States? Let the ink flow by the hectoliters (and the vomit too, if we are to believe the testimonies of spectators blown up by the promotional machine) and boiled Twitter with dithyrambs or indignant tweets, reporting an arch-gory and notoriously unsustainable film?

It is the miracle, as only horror cinema can produce, of Terrify 2, second part of a franchise made with bits of string, but a lot of generosity. The film exceeded 10 million dollars in revenue in the United States in mid-November before being exported internationally, and, one miracle calling for another, finally finding its way to French cinemas.

The safest is 1970s-1980s slasher

Eight years earlier, in 2016, the nobody Damien Leone (already experienced in the genre with several horror shorts and anthologies on his own), signed a slasher self-financed, with an even more derisory budget ($35,000). Thanks to a good festival career and favorable word-of-mouth, Terrify is slowly but surely establishing itself as the surest slasher of the 1970s and 1980s. But also as an independent film made with the purest of fuels: an unconditional love for horror cinema, and a deference to the masters of horror who brought it to the pinnacle.

The film owes its hype in large part to its psychopathic killer, a scrupulous reiteration of the bogeyman focused on butchery, which, from Michael Myers at Freddy Krueger, made slasher famous. Clown Art, as its name suggests, disguises itself as a clown to commit its atrocious crimes with bladed weapons, and terrorizes its victims with its carnivorous smile and its pantomimic gestures of a disturbed circus man. With its scenario reduced to three times nothing, Terrify was envisaged as a fairground horror show where we witnessed the carnage, dosed in hemoglobin and dismemberments, perpetrated by Clown Art on a disastrous Halloween night.

A subtext on the falsity of his images

Terrify 2 is neither more nor less than a version doped with growth hormones of the first film: longer, more gore, more unbearable. But behind the outbidding, and the scenes of carnage competing in perverse ingenuity, the film develops a subtext (conscious or not) on the falsity of its images. By situating his action (once again) on a Halloween night, Terrify 2 blurs the boundary between reality and pretense, and systematically refers, both in its outrageous staging and in its fairground imagery, to the artificiality of its effects, creating a necessary distance in the face of the abominations shown.

Countdown toelevated horrorthis fundamental movement of contemporary horror cinema which intends to open up the genre from its second roots, Terrify 2 revives a literal horror, ultra-gore and distantly funny, definitely plugged into alternating current. To be reserved for amateurs of devilry with a strong stomach.

The horrific phenomenon “Terrifier 2” arrives in French theaters – Les Inrocks