FearTASTIC Vault O’FUN #73
IT: Chapter Two (2019)
Writer(s):Gary Dauberman, Stephen King (based on the novel)
Starring:Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader,
Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean
I’m a man (or ghoul) of my word…or at least of my teasing. I gushed over the remake of IT (CLICK HERE) and hinted that I’ll give my thoughts on the long awaited sequel, so here we are folks!
Admittedly, I’m one of those weirdos that constantly play trailers in the background when I’m excited about a movie. Every theater and TV variation of the trailer makes it onto my radar and you can catch me playing it on a loop while doing mundane tasks (such as writing up a horror movie review, kidding!). The IT: Chapter Twotrailer was an obsession of mine since the first teaser where the audience was graciously given a scene straight from the flick where adult Loser, Beverly, enters her old house with an elderly lady that ended up gave me the heebie-jeebies minutes (and perhaps a couple dark nights) after the teaser was finished! The trailer Gods just kept on giving with an official trailer that showed clips of the adult Loser Club running about but ends in a beautiful shot of what seems to be the human predecessor of the monstrous clown, Pennywise, staring into the camera with bloody eyes and half the make up on making a growling/howling noise that was fantastically disturbing (if there is such a thing).
By the time IT: Chapter Two finally did make it to theaters, I felt that I was perhaps a little too hyped with this flick with all the trailer watching but I couldn’t help that I was still excited to see this flick since the adult casting of the Loser’s Club was just unbelievably strong both esthetically and sheer talent. First off, I’m going to just put it out there immediately that this flick is not a scary movie in my humble opinion. In a way, the first IT flick worked a little too well since the hype of killer clowns was reignited in our culture so by the time the sequel came, there was little to nothing the movie could do to capture the same sort of spooky lightning in the bottle. Sure, there were a couple suspenseful moments but at this point, you pretty much knew all the tricks Pennywise had to offer so at most, you were a bit startled but nowhere near as sucked in by the combination of practical and special effects that made Pennywise so unique in the first IT flick (Curry shall forever be Pennywise but I acknowledge that the IT remake was successful in making Skarsgård’s Pennywise different enough to work).
Having said that, the emotional rollercoaster that was IT: Chapter Two attacked hard and often throughout the flick. You have already spent hours getting to know these kids from the first flick so seeing them as adults gives you another layer of character development that plays so well due mostly to the incredible performances from the adult actors. Each Loser kept their personalities for the most part, with growing up being a big theme for the sequel. You can clearly see that the events from the first flick had a significant impact in their lives but what was truly special is the first scene where they all get together for the first time in 27 years (still in a Chinese restaurant by the way, WIN!). The chemistry between the adult Losers really did feel like the kids from the first movie, just older, not much wiser and definitely traumatized from battling Pennywise. I loved the fact that the adult Losers were still, yes, Losers. Although almost all of them seem successful in their career paths, they were broken adults that felt they never had closure as children so they constantly dwelled in some sort of arrested development. This plays really well into the plot of this movie and the theme really worked for me since it provided another demand of my emotional investment.
Bless Bill Skarsgård version of Pennywise. You can tell that he has much care for this character since a lot of the eccentricities were entirely Bill’s doing (I’m sure everyone has seen viral videos of him doing the Pennywise smile and cross eyes on every talk show possible)! Although he’d already been extremely successful in bringing Pennywise to fresh new faces, it seems the big bad was even more of a side character than the first flick because although the trauma stems from the clown, the audience’s interest tends to go towards the Losers themselves. By the time you get to the “scary” parts of Pennywise, I was kind of impatient and wanted him to kill the victims already so we can get back to see what the adult Losers were up to at the moment.
Based on the reactions to the flick, I think it’s cliché at this point to say Bill Hader was the breakout star of this flick, so I’ll just leave it at that but also point out that James Ransone as adult Eddie was my personal favorite performance of the flick. Out of all the Loser adults, I would say James nailed the adult version of his character as his neurotic, germaphobe self lets loose the occasional string of curse words (mostly directed towards Hader) with perfect cadence.
The movie itself felt more like a coming of age journey rather than a horror flick. By the time the movie ends, you feel tension released from your shoulders knowing that these characters were going to be okay because they had gone through an experience that changed them for the better. The film almost plays as a video game where the Losers have to complete tasks in order to get to the next level but the tasks consisted of completely F*cked up memories and emotional turmoil. That aspect of the movie is what made it enjoyable rather than scary and to be quite honest, I was more than fine with that adjustment.
Bottom Line – Although I think IT: Chapter Onewas a better horror movie, IT: Chapter Two was a beautiful payoff for the audience that emotionally invested in these characters, which makes ultimately makes it the better movie overall. Keeps your friends close folks and battle some evil out there!
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.