Just in time for the beginning of spooky season comes one of the highly anticipated horrors of 2019, IT Chapter Two. This film was so much fun and surprised me on many levels. While it was rather long with a glorious 169 minute run time, I remained immersed the whole way through.
Andy Muschietti shows us a whimsical fever dream with IT Chapter Two, built on the nostalgia of the first and bringing buried traumas back to life and bigger than ever. In this day and age, it's very hard to create a new shocking atmosphere for audiences who've virtually seen it all. With films like this, the scare factor isn't always effective work for everyone. I think he really understands that while doing what he has to do to bring the story and Pennywise himself to their full potential. So much of the film is based around humor, which I definitely didn’t expect, but it ended up working for me.
My only real quarrels with the film's direction is Eddie's literal walk down memory lane in the pharmacy. His was the lamest of all of the Losers and truly didn't make any sense. I'll get into this later, but I also thought there were too many flashbacks. I also really wish I saw more adult Stanley, because... I... stan.
Our lovable Losers are called back to good ole Derry, 27 years after the tragic events that took place in their adolescence in order to stop the terrorizing force that is Pennywise the clown, among other things. When they reunite, something is off, and they learn that the longer they were away from the town, the more they had forgotten. With the help of Mike, who stayed behind in Derry and acts as the rolodex to that fateful summer, they help each other piece it all together. The kids have grown, and so has Pennywise. He feeds off of their suppressed memories and manifests himself into some of the freakiest forms we have ever seen him become. Their fears, that are now bigger than ever in adulthood, are matched by Pennywise, and I can't think of anything worse.
In my opinion, I think the story could have done better without so many flashbacks to the past. They felt dragged out at times when all I wanted was to keep going in the present. There are some aspects that the filmmakers decided to expand upon from the last movie, which at first I thought was cool, but overall felt distracting.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
I think everyone did a fantastic job. The performances of the grown up Losers resonate with their younger selves flawlessly. I haven't seen better cast with young/adult counterparts since Then and Now. This movie sent me to tears on many different occurrences based solely on the performances. Bill Hader really steals the show with Richie’s long awaited story arc that we didn’t get last chapter. His performance alone drove me to tears a couple different times. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, Andy Bean, and James Ransone all knocked it out of the park. For me, they really portrayed that same warm bond the kids did such a great job with in the first film. Do I even have to say how Bill Skarsgard did? He was perfect. I really do wish we got more of just Pennywise. However, what makes his performance so effective is that you know he is lurking somewhere, even if you don’t see him. Be sure to look out for a really fun cameo, too!
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The music tracks were nothing to write home about and seemed pretty horror film standard. I don't really remember much about it, to be honest. The key things that were effective for me were the piercing notes during escalating moments, which sets my heart racing when I watch any scary movie. There was some ADR moments that bugged me. I very much enjoyed an unnerving scene that involved certain rhythmic footsteps coming from the darkness that has been haunting me for the last few days.
I don't know how many times I thought to myself, "If I saw this happening in real life I would be shitting my pants" or "Oh my god, this is scaring me more than it should be.'' The jump scares go hand in hand with the wildly creepy visuals, which did a number on me when all was said and done. I beamed with joy over Pennywise every time he was on the screen, whether in clown form, or something else. More importantly, for me personally, the very idea of what each of the mind tricks presented is even more horrifying when you really think about them and what they mean to these people.
Here is where I complain about the de-aging overlay. That was the only thing out of the whole film that made me go "yeah, I hate this.” It just looked like they turned the beautifier up on their phone cameras. I COMPREHEND THE ACTORS GOT OLDER IN TWO YEARS BUT, *hot take* cut those scenes, maybe? We really didn't need all those flashbacks anyways.
You really want to go into this one understanding that it is very much an adventure. As much as IT is a story about a scary killer clown, it’s truly about the importance of friendship and facing your fears head on in order to let go of your past. What I love the most about this film is the unity and comfort the Losers have on screen. Never has a film in the horror genre made me care so much about its characters like I do with the Losers. I find that very special and hard to do. I love them so much that I just want to watch them beyond this story, living their freedoms. The fact that Stephen King is really proud of it makes me even more happy. I admire the world he created for us, as well as the world Muschietti and crew emulated in these two films. I’m very eager to watch them over and over and hopefully with a fat supercut in the near future!