One of 2019’s most highly anticipated sequels arrived to deliver audiences a bonafide blockbuster with the return of Stephen King’s horror adaption It: Chapter Two.
The 2017 horror hit It introduced movie goers to the evil yet childish and, at times, absurdly funny clown Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård) as he terrifies and murders the kids from Derry, in Maine. Splitting King’s novel down the middle, It: Chapter Two focuses on the Losers Club as adults as they resurrect the terror they faced as kids.
Chapter Two is set 27 years after the original entry, where all the members of the fabled Losers’ Club have grown up, gone their separate ways and have almost forgotten all their teenage escapades. Only Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) remained, and when violent attacks similar to the ones from their childhood begin again, he calls everyone back to battle Pennywise and banish him for good. The grown-up crew includes James McAvoy as the former stutterer Bill Denbrough, Jessica Chastain as his old flame Beverly Marsh, and Bill Hader as the wisecracking Richie Tozier. The group is rounded out by Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom, James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak, and Andy Bean as Stanley Uris.
The movie offers film fanatics over-the-top quintessential horror, such as the bully-turned-escaped-mental-patient Henry (Teach Grant) being chauffeured by a rotting corpse, the climax at a haunted house, as well as the possessed fun fair, especially the hall of mirrors.
While the first film avoided much investigation into Pennywise’s origins, Chapter Two made a concerted effort to unravel his beginnings. Painted with monstrous white and red makeup, It was able to change at will and was a deliberate blank who happens to enjoy taking the chilling form of a dancing clown.
King’s book is such a large novel that no screen adaption could do justice to in one sitting, so it was clever the movie makers decided to create two films. However, it is unrealistic for me to say that this latest film was perfect. It wasn’t as scary compared to the first one. The properly terrifying moment comes in the opening sequence, and it’s a very non-supernatural eruption of homophobic violence. Edging three hours, the film is far too long, however it is undeniable that the acting is fantastic and each scene is visually striking.
While It: Chapter Two brings the story to a greatly satisfying and conclusive end, it was not the ghoulish scare-fest it could have been.