It Chapter Two is a sequel to the 2017 film It, both are based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. This continuation takes place 27 years after the events of the first film. Pennywise has re-emerged. The losers club must return to Derry, recollect their childhood traumas and put a stop to the malevolent clown once and for all.
Upon hearing that It has resurfaced, Mike Hanlon calls each of the club members in an attempt to get them to come back. All are amnesiac about their childhoods and disturbed by the calls, but agree to return. However, Stan commits suicide. The remaining members reunite at a local restaurant. All is going well until the night takes a horrific turn when monstrous conjuring’s emerge and terrify the group. Most of them considering fleeing when they find out about Stan’s death. However, Bill agrees to give Mike one last chance to convince him to stay. He reveals his knowledge of an ancient ritual that he believes will be capable of killing It for good. For it to work, each of them must recover an important artefact from their past.
It Chapter Two is something of a mixed bag. Firstly, I believe the first film is stronger. There are many reasons as to why I feel that way, some simple and some more complicated. The simple answer being that this sequel doesn’t generate nearly as much fear as the first did. If you read many of my reviews you’ll know that I am an advocate for practical effects in horror movies. I know I should just accept that modern films prefer to go down the CGI route but I just can’t. Some of the CGI effects used in this movie just don’t look good, it’s that simple. In time, they will only look worse and worse. Some of the things that are displayed are creative. I credit the actors for making it seem like they are looking at something horrifying but you just know it isn’t actually there.
In my opinion, these films are at their strongest when Bill Skarsgård appears in physical form as Pennywise. Once again, his performance is a real highlight. The casting in general is fantastic. It’s actually weird how much these actors look and sound like their younger counterparts. Everyone delivers what is required of them. My biggest issue is with James McAvoy as Bill. Not because he isn’t good, the man is a phenomenal actor. However, I have just seen him play too many other roles in recent memory. The accent he uses here felt too familiar to one he uses in the films Split & Glass, it just took me out it.
Another issue I had with It Chapter Two is that it’s surprisingly comedic. This is a horror comedy, without a doubt. The funny thing is, that is literally my favourite genre and I just don’t think it works here. I felt to me like the horror and comedy were more at war rather than meshing well together. There were many moments where I was genuinely feeling confused if I was meant to feel fear or if I should be laughing. The crowd in my theatre were chuckling away at scenes that were clearly intended to scare. Some moments are just so over the top in nature, it’s hard not to laugh. If you go into seeing this film expecting to laugh, you’ll have a better time. I got serious Sam Raimi vibes.
There are some cool visuals and it does build decent tension at times. I just felt that the kids in the original did a better job of portraying fear then the adults do here. I understand that they are more desensitized or whatever but still. The acting isn’t bad but it seemed to like they were being told to act in a less serious manner and make as many jokes as possible.
Considering the length of It Chapter Two, I never really felt it. It moves along at such a breakneck speed, you never get much time to breathe. At no point did it bore me, it doesn’t allow you to. It goes from crazy scene to the next with little to no subtlety. If you’re a fan of the mini-series then don’t expect many if any surprises. Still, the very core of the story is undeniably solid. There may not be as much heart in this sequel as the original but it’s there. It’s just a shame we don’t get many scenes witnessing the characters connect like in the first film.
One thing this film can hold over the mini-series is its ending. I really liked how they handled things during the final battle with Pennywise. The way in which he is defeated is really logical. It definitely improves upon what had come before it. However, it must have made Pennywise regret toying with them so much when he had the chance to kill them all on a number of occasions. Also, it’s a shame that Henry Bowers is once again thrown away. He has even less impact here than the mini-series.
Overall, It Chapter Two is a good conclusion. It isn’t perfect but there are some really creative ideas on display even if it’s mostly let down by lacklustre effects. It’s a great time for horror when a mainstream, big budget film like this can get away with so much craziness. The cast do a great job and Bill Skarsgård is once again fantastic as Pennywise. It may not have scared me as I had hoped but I cannot deny that I was thoroughly entertained throughout. Considering its length, that’s not the worst compliment.
It Chapter Two
The Final Score - 6.5/10
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