Director Andy Muschietti
Genre Horror | Thriller
Cast Bill Skarsgård, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader
Release Date September 6th, 2019
After two long years IT: Chapter Two is finally here, and back in the directors chair is Andy Muschietti who made his presence known in the world of horror with his 2013 film Mama based on his 2008 short film. Now we all know that the real mastermind behind this terrifying clown is the man himself, author Stephen King, and he deserves all of the praise in the world. King has been absolutely dominating the horror landscape as of late, with the IT remakes as well as Pet Sematary, now we have Doctor Sleep, the sequel to the Shining, right around the corner. So with a star-studded cast was IT: Chapter Two able to reach the very high bar set by the first film? Well let’s find out shall we.
Admittedly I was nervous about the lengthy runtime as I made my way to the theater (partly due to the fact that we have an 8-month old baby and i really didn’t want to be that guy who fell asleep during the movie) but the reality is that this day and age movies nearing the 3-hour mark is pretty common. Plus people seem to forget that the original IT was considering a miniseries clocking in at just over 3-hours. Either way, it was a non-factor so you can stop worrying about that. Right from the beginning like most of you I was bordeline giddy with the casting decisions for this film, from Jessica Chastain to James McAvoy (although admittedly I kept hearing his many characters from Split/Glass whenever he talked), down to Bill Hader, this was a stacked cast. IT: Chapter Two picks up years after the original, 27 to be exact, and brings us back to a familiar and eery Derry. A member of “The Losers” stayed behind and uncovers what he believes to be the return of the evil they thought they defeated when they were kids, enter Pennywise.
The transition from the first film to the 2nd chapter is seamless, and it helps to have the benefit of the flashbacks as well. The story continues to be engaging and emotionally driven due to the perfectly setup backstory for each character. Once again production value and the ability to set the mood is top-notch thanks to director Andy Muschietti’s eye for horror. Similar to the first film humor can be found in between the most terrifying scenes, and sometimes even taking place simultaneously. The characters each have depth to them whether we are watching a flashback to their childhood or the now adult versions of themselves. But as it should be, the real star of the show is Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. His mannerisms combined with the next-level make-up work and a dash of CGI is just incredible. Bringing him on to this project a few years ago was a huge win that has certainly paid off.
Buy let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the latest film adaptation of the genius that is Stephen King, which is whether or not it’s ACTUALLY scary because I know that’s why you are here. To summarize, yes, yes it is. Now if you have read any of my reviews for horror films in the last few years (it’s a long list) you’ll know that I have become somewhat numb to horror films in general, so it is rare that a movie is able to actually scare me. With that being said, IT: Chapter Two got me pretty good and managed to cause a slight jump in my seat followed by a few legitimate chills (don’t worry, I played it cool). The film is chock full of perfectly setup scenes specifically designed to have this effect on viewers, and it will be successful more often than not. But it is also worth noting that those of you who can’t stomach real horror, if you enjoyed the first film you’ll enjoy this one as well mainly due to the humor element that provides a nice balance. But I didn’t say that once your head hits that pillow Pennywise won’t be haunting your dreams, because he will. Sleep tight.
Simply put, IT: Chapter Two was damn good. It was as about as scary as you could hope for and it was very, very funny. I think my favorite performance was given by Bill Hader, who has become an actor to watch for me since his breakout work in the HBO series Barry. Jessica Chastain took on a very important role as Beverly and she crushed it. I have hard time saying it was better than Chapter 1 from two years ago, but one film couldn’t really exist without the other so I guess it’s a pointless argument.
IT: Chapter Two is long, but it’s far from boring and that’s what matters most here. The performances are exceptional, the humor once again prevalent and well-balanced, and the talented Bill Skarsgård has somehow merged his identity with that of Pennywise the clown, and that my friends is what nightmares are made of. Get out to the theater for this one, it’s worth it. Highly recommended.