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IT Chapter Two – Movie Review

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IT Chapter Two – Movie Review

Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

In adapting one half of Stephen King’s novel about a demonic clown, Andy Muschietti created an unsettling horror film that also showed the important bond between a group of children unfairly menaced by their town. With IT Chapter Two, the rest of the book has been brought to the screen, effectively showing how they’ve attempted to move away from that traumatizing week. Muschietti crafts multiple stand-out sequences, while finding the right actors to play the older versions of the Losers Club. And yes, Pennywise the Dancing Clown is back and he has lost none of the terrifying bite Bill Skarsgard brought to the role the first time around.

IT Chapter Two feels less like a sequel and more like the necessary other part of the story and one could combine the two movies to create one five hour epic horror film. One of the most remarkable aspects of this film is how perfectly cast the lead actors are. In addition to looking like their younger counterparts, they also accurately get their personalities down. Bill Hader ends up being the strongest, showing the pain Richie is feeling and how he masks that with his sense of humour. The movie successfully shows their determination and fear as they try to confront Pennywise and his many forms.

Muschietti employs several flashbacks to Derry in 1989, with the younger actors reprising their roles again. These scenes complement the present day story well and allows for further opportunities to scare the audience. An increased budget leads to more special effects being utilised, but they don’t dilute the horror. The various hallucinations experienced by the characters have an appropriately unsettling quality to them, with Richie and Beverly getting the more freaky images thrown at them. Pennywise remains a memorable presence, though, constantly lurking with Skarsgard bringing the necessary frightful quality. Once again, there are a few scenes where he preys on children and shows off his cunning in how he commits these horrible acts.

Even though IT Chapter Two runs almost three hours long, the length isn’t felt. Part of the reason for this might be the rooting interest in seeing the Losers Club succeed. The film properly re-establishes them and the town of Derry, as well as one of their enemies, and one particularly good idea is pairing up Richie with the germophobe Eddie. There is a surprising amount of humour in IT Chapter Two, mostly delivered by Hader, and they fit with the characters. There are even a few fun cameos thrown into the movie that add to the enjoyment. Only an odd music cue ends up being more confusing than amusing.

IT Chapter Two closes off the story on a satisfying note and one really feels like we’ve truly gotten to know these characters. While this is certainly a dark film that never shies away from the horrors committed by this evil shape-shifting being, there is also an empowering element in seeing the leads confront their fears. On a filmmaking level, Andy Muschietti also succeeds in drawing the audience in and making Derry feel like a legitimate community, albeit one with horrible inner demons. Both films combine to become horror films intent on creating scares by building up these children (and later adults) and making them sympathetic and relatable.

Stefan Ellison