Reel Reviews | IT Chapter 2

by Monica Hayes

Director Andrés Muschietti’s IT Chapter 2 closes the book on the Losers and Pennywise spectacularly.

IT Chapter 2 opens up on a happy note. Yes, happy, but its Derry so you know the happiness won’t last long. The Derry festival is in full swing and everyone eating cotton candy, playing games and having a good time.  A guy wins a prize at the water balloon game, looks an see a disappointed young girl, bends down and thanks her for letting him win, then hands her his prize. At that point, he and his boyfriend walk off holding hands and loving on each other. The sight of them angers an ignorant group of thugs who end up gruesomely attacking them and throwing one in the river. Struggling to stay afloat and breath, the victim is helped out of the water, by none other than a hungry Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). See, told you the happiness wouldn’t last long.

Later the next day, the news gets out about dismembered body found in the river and Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) leery of the time, goes to investigate. When he finds evidence that IT is back, he sends out the call to summon the Losers back to fulfill their promise.  Now grown and living their lives outside of Derry, Maine, each member has their own set of individual issues they have been facing. That is until they get Mike’s call and one by one we see the effects of his call and the terror that it brings.

Slowly they all return to Derry and meet up for dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. There, Bill (James McAvoy), Eddie (James Ransone), Bev (Jessica Chastain), Ben (Jay Ryan), Ritchie (Bill Hader) reminisce about old times, laugh, joke, eat and drink until remembering that Stan is missing and things get a little weird. At this point, they realize what they were brought back to do: fulfill that promise they made some twenty-seven years ago. Terrified of the thought, or lack thereof, each of them, except for Mike, must overcome their lack of memory and piece together what happened all those years ago, to finally get rid of that dreaded clown once and for all.

The script was well done. One would expect to see some type of deviation or extra indulgences taken to make the script his own. However, Gary Dauberman’s script stays true to Stephen King’s novel and brings out its soul.  By sticking close to the novel, Dauberman was able to capture the essence of each character and make you care about them.  Yes, even Pennywise. Hell, he has more of a following that the rest of the characters, but I digress.  Dauberman was able to weave horror, humor, suspense together into one brilliantly written movie.

As the continuation to the 2017’s Chapter 1, Chapter 2 steps its way up with the suspense, blood, and gore. It was already a scary book to read with your own imagination, but it’s like Muschietti reached inside of Stephen King’s head, took out his twisted imagination added a little of his own, and plastered it all over the big screen for all to enjoy. The jumps, bumps, scares and breathtakingly intense scenes are satisfying to watch, to say the least. The amount of blood in this movie is right up there with Carrie or The Shinning. I wonder how much of the budget went just to the fake blood.  So much so, ITshould come with its own warning: ‘Warning: this movie is not for those with weak heart conditions, pregnant women and small children.’  

Without question, Pennywise was not here to play games, although he stated the opposite. He made his intentions very clear from his first appearance at the fair that he was hungry, and had waited so long for his revenge on the Losers who beat him long ago.  The way he killed his victims were unique, incredibly personal and bloody. Skarsgård is at his best as Pennywise. The way he can naturally distort his face, eyes and mouth are creepy without all the makeup. When you add the makeup, together with his voice, the walk, the laugh, and the special effects, he will make you think Pennywise is ready to feed off your worse fears too.

Overall, Dauberman and Muschietti have taken a terrible made for TV movie of a classic horror novel and remade it into a classic horror film with a gratifying ending that rivals the book and will continue to scare fans for years to come. Caution, there is a lot of blood, gore. Oh and don’t bring the kiddies unless you want to have extra company in your bed for a while. You have been warned.

Grade A