It Chapter Two (2019)
R | 2h 49min | Horror | 6 September 2019 (USA)
Synopsis: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.
Review: The only thing scarier than Pennywise the Clown is IT CHAPTER TWO‘s run time. It clocks in at nearly three hours so if you do the math the number of scares per minute is about, well, let’s just not do the math. It is a necessary evil – the length and the clown – since you really have to do the Stephen King novel justice. Anyone who has read King’s works knows that Tolstoy has nothing on the horror master when it comes to lengthy tomes. If you combine this one with IT (2017) you get a five hour film. I say all that to both prepare you and to validate the need.
This one picks up as the book does as twenty seven years have passed since the middle schoolers defeated Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). All but Mike (Isaiah Mustafa/Chosen Jacobs) have left Derry to live bigger and better lives. Mike stayed behind to keep an eye on things. Noting that if the clown and the killings every returned he would be the one to summon the losers to come home. And it is now time. As the friends gather for a nearly three decade reunion images of the past, which had faded due to their distance from the town, begin to come flooding horrifyingly back.
Each of the adults must face their own darkest fears in order for the mission to work. As they set out individually they encounter the clown in many forms. At times it feels like six separate stories that stem from a central idea. This is important because King is the best at writing characters and how they deal with what is in front of them. Screenwriter Gary Dauberman does a nice job of translating that to the big screen and the formidable actors bring the emotions to life.
Tbh though we are all there to see that clown. Whether you want to admit it and no matter how much it terrifies you he is the main attraction. Selfishly I wanted more of Pennywise in this one but it isn’t my book or movie. As mentioned the movie is about the adults reliving childhood memories that most of us would not survive. It is them working through the pain and healing through uniting. The moments when we do get the white faced demon it is brutal and savage. The graphics and effects are unique and do the trick for sure.
The success of the first film was the use of the kids. They were funny and clever with a relatable bond that struck a chord with all us losers. Luckily we get a decent dose in this one too. Along with the adult story there are enough flashbacks with their younger counterparts to both entertain and remind us of key plot points we may have forgotten. Hats off to casting that they were able to find legitimate adult actors who very easily could be the grownup versions of the child actors. The transition was seamless. Even with lovable Ben (Jay Ryan/Jeremy Ray Taylor).
IT CHAPTER TWO is a must see if you fall into any of these three categories. Fan of the book, saw the first film, or you are a clown. Parents please be aware of the gruesome images and violence in this and keep the kiddos at home. It is rated R for disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout, pervasive language, and some crude sexual material. For adults it is a lot of fun and serves the genre and the novelist well.