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It Chapter Two
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader
Director: Andy Muschietti
RUNTIME: 169 Mins
The ‘final exam on horror’ IT Chapter Two is an Endgame-long-epic. It’s a funhouse horror flick – cruel with some laughs. Moreover, it’s a drama mix of fear, friendship and finding true love. But, what it really lacks is the fright factor. IT scares less, match-cuts and CGIs more. Occasionally, it is repetitive, predictable and boring. I simply can’t take IT anymore.
The Argentinean director Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama) and screenwriter Gary Dauberman (IT, the Annabelle films) follow-up to 2017’s highest-grossing horror film of all time IT, an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name.
Evil resurges in Derry as six adults reunite the ‘Losers Club’ to face and conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise – the malevolent clown spirit that terrorised them as children.
Twenty seven years have passed since the tragic events and there’s evidence of Pennywise’s (Bill Skarsgård) return. So Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), who stayed back in his hometown researching at the library about the monster’s origins, calls his old friends and asks them to return to Derry, Maine. Only together can they ‘finish it for good’.
The grown-up Losers had all gone their separate ways. They tried to forget everything about their cursed hometown. Bill (James McAvoy) has gone on to become a big-shot Hollywood writer whose latest book is being adapted into a film; only his endings aren’t ‘happy’.
Beverly (Jessica Chastain) had an abusive relationship with her father and is still in an abusive relationship with her husband. Richie (Bill Hader) is a stand-up comedian. His sharp comic timing even in the creepiest moments is the best thing in the entire film. Eddie (James Ransone) remains a neurotic hypochondriac who’s married to a ‘motherly’ woman. And Ben (Jay Ryan) still has a secret crush on Beverly and is a hunky, wealthy architect.
The casting is so spot-on we automatically connect to the children back in the summer of 1989. Perhaps they were more grownup in the coming of age story than the grown-ups in their 40s, who sometimes behave childishly.
Once the characters are introduced by giving each of the club members an extended moment, Mike asks them to find “tokens” from that summer – the most important items to be used in a ritual to defeat Pennywise for life. Each member’s individual quests look ridiculous which could’ve been separate horror shorts for an open-ended TV series.
The ever-menacing Bill has redefined the character of Pennywise aka IT, who we’ve seen before in 1990 TV miniseries played by Tim Curry. Bill is a brilliant physical performer in every shape and nature. Other ghoulish creatures are less classy, in fact disgusting, mostly creates jack-in-the-box-scares. But moments like a weird movement by an elderly woman (played by Joan Gregson) in the dark hallway, a crowded funfair in a surreal bright sunny daylight or a single red balloon floating in the sky are chilling.
The scariest part of Chapter Two perhaps is the opening scene with a brutal, bone-crunching attack on Adrian Mellon, played by filmmaker Xavier Dolan. The violent hate crime reminded viewers of a horrendous real-life murder in Bangor in 1984 in which Charlie Howard was murdered by three local teenagers for being different. They threw him off the State Street Bridge into the Kenduskeag Stream canal. Was there any killer clown in Bangor’s sewers too?
Subidita’s verdict: 3/5