Chapter 2 is finally upon us. I was undoubtedly anxious for this spooky sequel. And that alone should tell you all you need to know about it. Maybe I should elaborate. I tend to have a love-hate relationship with horror movies. I love them but can only watch them during the day. Otherwise, I will not sleep. Yeah, I am a big chicken. But occasionally there is a movie than compels me to head to the theaters because it isn’t just a typical slasher but a damn good story too. Like its predecessor It Chapter 2 is such a movie.
The first chapter was a solid modernization of the cult classic. It was more refined and better orchestrated. It was easier to digest as we explored the world from the perspective of the kids. It felt like a more adult version of Stranger Things. Unlike the traditional horror movie of victims just running away from the killer, this movie had multiple layers. On the surface, it was a straight horror flick. But dig a little deeper, and you will find a heartwarming coming of age story. But with a sadistic twist. The adaptation was not a pure one, but faithful enough. I suppose some elements did not translate well enough into the world they were trying to create. The story ends with the Losers seemingly killing It and making a promise to return should the supernatural clown ever show its oddly proportioned head again.
Return of the Clown
27 years later and Pennywise returns. The losers are all grown up and all but one have left Derry. They have forgotten their horror laced past for the most part. But once the killings start again, Mike dials up his old pals. They all return in for last bid to take down the clown for good.
The adult Losers are perfectly cast, mirroring their young counterpart actors. Bill Hader is the surprise break out star, otherwise known for his more comedic roles. And that’s a huge compliment when James McAvoy is the lead. The movie has the adults both reflecting on the past as well as fighting current inner demons, all while trying to find a way to finally kill Pennywise.
The movies run time is in Endgame territory, coming in at close to 3 hours. Personally I have grown to love movies with longer run time. Besides the obvious benefit of bang for your buck. It allows the creators to fully flesh out the characters. This allows for bigger payoffs at the end. Books are always a more intermit experience. This is mostly lost in the visual re-telling. However, a select few movies manage to come close. This is one of those movies. It captures the true nature of the book and I am sure Stephen King would be proud.
Oh the Horror
It may have a compelling story but that doesn’t mean shy’s away from the horror element. Nope, in fact, it dished it out by the spades. There are some very chilling scenes. This all boils down to both the visual aspect as well as Bill Skarsgard’s fantastic portrayal. The way he shifts from the loveable clown to the ever-hungry demon is truly haunting. It is one of those movies that doesn’t rely squarely on galleons of blood to instill fear. It builds the moments carefully. Slowly gaining your trust, then in a moment changes the atmosphere and cranks the horror up to eleven.
Like I said earlier, the movies have multiple layers. At the bottom is the analogy. To me Pennywise is the metaphor of evil or Satan, depending on your beliefs. It is able to take any form and can use your own fears or insecurities against you. A pure form of evil if there was any. But all it takes is the belief that it can be overcome and suddenly it loses its power. It loses its hold on you. And I suppose therein lies the theme.
Watch this with a friend. It’s creepy and scary in all the right ways. A superb follow up to the now-classic first chapter and makes you wish for a trilogy.