It: Chapter Two
Tackling the next half of Steven King’s iconic novel, It: Chapter Two flings us 27 years into the present-ish. It’s 2016 and It, the demonic spirit, is back. The seven members of the Losers Club are called to action. Winning the puberty lottery, the youngsters have grown into a star-studded ensemble including Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa and James Ransone. Perhaps one of the greatest then-and-now castings is Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard and Hader as Richie Tozer who, as in It: Chapter One, is the film’s wisecracking backbone. Hader’s quips never cease to provide levity as the shape-shifting monster wreaks havoc.
In order to defeat It, each character must confront their past. The only problem is that the group has suffered collective amnesia, presenting director Andrés Muschietti’s with the perfect excuse for an unending stream of flashback fodder. The film, which verges on three hours, takes a desperate swing at ensuring each character has its fair share of the limelight. Seemingly in an attempt to avoid a loss of character development, the tiresome first act is filled with unending calls to action which underscores the difficulties of having a group protagonist. Nonetheless, the attention to character detail is what elevates It from the horror genre.
Lovers of the nostalgic sheen of the first instalment need not be afraid as the music and psychological development forces the film to straddle timelines in both 1989 and 2016. Not only does the structure allow for a crowd-pleasing return of the pre-teen cast but it also enables a stark look at the decline of small-town America. Flipping manically from past to present, boarded-up shop windows and abandoned arcades show a world long-gone. It builds fear from fear itself, and so the perpetual metaphor portrays the nation battling its own demons. Small-town frills of violent acts of homophobia, racially charged slurs, sexual abuse and bullying are laced into the fabric of the film. The horrifying acts of inhumanity are what leave the most gut-wrenching marks.
This sequel doesn’t offer much more than the first film. Instead of a coming-of-age flick, it’s a coming-to-terms-with the-present one. It uses Pennywise’s same bag of tricks: jump scares, intense violence, blood and gore. It’s nonetheless enjoyable and time flies as you are forced into the deep recesses of human fear, however predictably.
IT Chapter Two is released nationwide on 6th September 2019.
Watch the trailer for IT Chapter Two here: