Review: “It Chapter Two”

Pennywise’s horror in Derry, Maine returns 27 years later, but the adult rendition doesn’t quite match the first movie's allure.

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Bella Rinne, Opinions Editor

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Horror fans and Stephen King stans rejoice: two years after 2017’s hugely successful film “It”, director Andres Muschietti brings back the Losers Club for the second chapter of this story, taking place twenty seven years after Pennywise’s initial defeat. The first chapter ended with It returning to the sewers to regain his strength, but almost three decades later, he’s back and more powerful than ever. 

Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) is the only one who stayed in Derry all these years, unable to give up an investigation of the town’s mystery regarding It’s origin. The movie opens with Pennywise’s return in the most graphic way possible, leaving Mike no other choice than to call the rest of the group under their oath that “if It comes back, we all come back.”

Although the Losers Club has split ways and found immense fame in their respective careers, they still have an inexplicable motivation to return to Derry when Mike calls. Their life now accurately reflects the characters developed in the first movie: Beverly (Jessica Chastain), who swapped her abusive father with an equally abusive boyfriend; Richie (Bill Hader), who translated his comedic persona to stand up comedy; Bill (James McAvoy), a best-selling author novelist; Eddie (James Ransone), a mouthy businessman in New York; and Ben (Jay Ryan), who worked to replace his chubby teenage self to a newly ripped build. Stanley, in fear of It’s power, makes a different decision than to return. The group explores Derry to remember the past, as the farther they went from their hometown, the more fuzzy their memories were. 

The adult rendition of “It” fell just short of the first chapter’s success, mostly due to the length of the film and focus on the wrong part of the story. The Losers Club, once bonded through trauma and indivisible friendship, did not have nearly the same dynamic contrast as the kids in the first chapter because much of the movie focused on one character at a time as he or she encountered It alone. Although each interaction had plenty of scares and gore that deemed it a true “horror movie,” it lacked character interactions between the group as a whole, resulting in unsatisfying development as adults. The only subplot worth paying attention to was Richie coming to terms with his true self; his nonfiltered jokes and interaction with Eddie completely rejuvenates the film’s dark and demented plot. Bill Hader’s performance throughout the movie carried the film, but his plot felt disappointingly overshadowed in the focus of the cliche love triangle between Beverly, Bill and Ben. 

The amount of gore and jump scares increases in “It Chapter Two”, initially creating an effectively distressful mood as the audience tentatively waits for the next scare or thrill. The film’s turn to abhorrent gore was beautifully crafted and well placed at the beginning, but after the first 20-something jump scares and many more to come, it became more of an annoyance than a real scare. For each truly amazing scare, there seemed to be one or two more that lacked terror due to predictability. Interestingly enough, as the audience becomes less frightened of Pennywise due to the repetitive scares, the Losers seemed to as well. 

Although the scares were repetitive, Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of the psycho shapeshifter in the second rendition builds off his performance in the first. The crudely painted face, yellow fangs and deliberate lazy eye makes Pennywise a thing of nightmares. His interaction with children showcases his malleability of emotions, moving from dopey to terrifying in a matter of seconds. His attacks are just as graphic in this movie, and the horror and teasing of his character develops Pennywise into one of Hollywood’s most frightening monsters.

It Chapter Two’s” adult reiterations may have lost much of its nostalgic draw, but the sequel is effective in bringing back the humor and innocence highly loved in the first chapter. Despite its faults, the incredible CGI used to employ all of It’s forms throughout the movie still makes it a must-watch for 2019. If you’re one to stomach graphic scenes, jump scares about every three minutes and more blood than you can imagine, this brilliant sequel to the 2017 hit just might be for you.

Rating 3.8/5