IT: Chapter Two is the continuation of the 2017’s hit horror film, IT. The film takes place 27 years after the events of the first film with our beloved “Loser’s Club” now as adults and all are living outside of Derry, Maine except for Mike Hanlon. When Mike discovers that “It” has returned from hibernation to feast on the children of Derry, he calls in the gang to return to Derry and fulfill the promise they made as kids. I absolutely adore the 2017 film. It was my second favorite film of that year behind Dunkirk, but at the time, it was the most fun I have ever had in a theater because it was my first R-rated, horror film theater experience. The child actors were incredible, the cinematography and set designs were immaculate, and Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown was convincingly terrifying. With all the hype for the second part to this adventure, would Chapter Two deliver the same quality the original gave us? For the most part, the film excels in its scares over its predecessor but at the expense of more flaws.
To start off, the casting was perfect. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain could not have been more perfect choices for the characters of Bill and Beverley. Bill Hader steals the show as Richie Tozier; not only because he is hilarious throughout the film but he also, surprisingly, delivers an emotional, “tug-at-your-heartstrings” performance that I cannot praise enough. As a big fan of Saturday Night Live, seeing Hader on-screen is an absolute treasure. There is never a dull moment when you see him on anything and he never fails to put a smile on your face. James Ransone, who plays adult Eddie Kaspbrak, shines as well and is the adult embodiment of Jack Dylan Grazer, who played young Eddie in the first film. There are times where I feel as though moviegoers forget just how important it is to have a good cast. If you don’t have a cast that can deliver the performances that you can latch on to and get behind, regardless of the grandeur of the scenes, the movie will not work. If there is one perfect element of this entire epic, it’s the casting.
Another positive about this film is the freak-show horror going on constantly. These movies know what they are trying to be and that is something to be respected. IT is not meant to be this serious, dark horror film like that of The Conjuring. Most scenes feel as though you are walking through a nearly three-hour-long haunted house. Everywhere you turn, there is another unsettling supernatural element that appears on-screen. While some come off as goofy, a majority of them did terrify me. The jumpscares, while aplenty, are not false scares and most were executed the way they should be, especially this one scene involving a little girl being lured under baseball bleachers by Pennywise. This movie does not hold back on anything. Take it as you will but you will be shocked by a couple of scenes where you will say to yourself, “Wow, they really did that”. AND IT IS MAGNIFICENT. However, as I said before, this film does have more flaws than the original.
This film is nearly three hours long and there are points where you will feel it. While I respect the choice to stick to the book, there are scenes that do not need to exist. Book-to-film adaptations are called adaptations for a reason. The characterization of the adults is lacking as well with the constant flashbacks to their childhood days. They are really just in the movie to defeat Pennywise and that is about it. Richie and Eddie are the only two characters with a deeper element to them. There are technical choices that could throw off some people. With the kids trying to reprise a role from the same time period that they filmed three to four years ago, they look completely different and you may catch that Finn Wolfhard is de-aged and some of the voices are processed because… PUBERTY.
In the end, IT: Chapter Two delivers a satisfying ending and is a respectable conclusion to such a beautiful film from 2017. While you may get bored and hear a bunch of people say that this film wasn’t scary, this is a good film and you are going to have a blast when you see it.