Stephen King. It’s a name that has been synonymous with the horror genre for decades. Books like The Shining, Misery, Pet Sematary, and Carrie have haunted people for years. When it comes to fear, the book It stands above the rest. If the book wasn’t scary enough, the release of an It miniseries in 1990 would inject visions of clowns in our nightmares for years to come. It wouldn’t be until 2017 that we would see Pennywise up on the big screen. With director Andy Muschetti at the helm, It was a mega success. The film introduced a whole new generation to the horrible fear of clowns. Now back for Chapter 2, Muschetti ups almost everything to conclude the story of the Losers’ Club and their ongoing discord with Pennywise the clown.
“This meeting of the Losers Club has officially begun.”
It: Chapter 2 picks up 27 years later after some gruesome events happening across the town of Derry, Maine point towards the return of Pennywise. The group of kids we came to know so well decide to return to Derry after a phone call from Mike. They reunite despite them having little to no memory of what happened those 27 years ago. Will the Losers’ Club be able to stop Pennywise for good this time or will his reign of terror never stop?
Going from the kids in the first film to the adults may be a worry to some but worry not; the casting is, for the most part, spot on when it comes to all the adults. These older versions of the Losers are led by an all star cast. This includes familiar faces like James McAvoy (Split, X-Men), Bill Hader (SNL, Superbad), and Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, Zero Dark Thirty).
Bill Hader stands out in the film as the older version of the wise cracking Richie. Known primarily for his comedic roles, Hader shows a lot more depth and range throughout It: Chapter 2. Fans of his work in Barry will enjoy what he does with his role in this film. Another stand out in the film, to no one’s surprise, is Bill Skarsgård who played the role of Pennywise. He has this amazing ability to switch from empathetic to terrifying in an instant and it’s fun to watch.
“For 27 years, I dreamt of you. I craved you…I’ve missed you!”
While it is great seeing the Losers back together, the film does exactly what it shouldn’t and pulls them apart for almost half the movie. The relationships and chemistry that you go into the film hoping for is thrown out the window. In it’s place is the repetition of the same scene over and over with each adult off on their own. The scenes they are together are great but they are much fewer than expected going into the film.
Also while the casting overall is great, Chastain and McAvoy were pretty disappointing. While Bill (McAvoy) plays a much larger role in the book, he takes the backseat in this film to Richie. Him and Chastain both feel out of place as their versions of the both Bev and Bill.
It: Chapter 2 also, with the help of a little de-aging technology, brings back the cast of the first film. There are several flashbacks throughout the film that brings you back to 1988. These add some more backstory to the childhood of these characters. The de-aging however is very noticeable and quite distracting on certain characters like Richie and Eddie. Although you can see it on just about everyone. The de-aging is just the start of the CGI issues in the film. There are certain points where the CGI already feels outdated. It is heavy and often and pulls you right out of the film.
“You’ve all grown up…”
Sitting at almost 3 hours long, It: Chapter 2 doesn’t pull any punches. The film is brutal, gory, and void of any subtlety. There is a loud jump scare around every corner followed by a tonal shift that will have you wondering what kind of film they were trying to make. Andy Muschetti made the huge horror blockbuster he wanted to make but it just didn’t work in certain areas. Some of the issues littered throughout the film aren’t issues of the movie itself but come from the source material. Events that are so crazy that they might be too over the top for some audience members and might be loved by others. If the length doesn’t bother you or you were a fan of the first film, I would still say that It: Chapter 2 is worth checking out!
Overall Score 3/5