IT Chapter Two review A creepy and satisfying conclusion

Posted on 11 September 2019
By Andrew Siddall
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When IT Chapter One stormed the box office in 2017, telling the first half of the Stephen King novel, it was a sure thing to expect the second half not long after. Now, two years later, the wait is over and it is time to return to Derry in IT Chapter Two.

Chapter Two picks up 27 years after the losers battled and defeated Pennywise the clown. Now, with Pennywise’s return and the death toll rising, Mike Hanlon brings the Losers Club back to Derry in an effort to stop the demonic clown once and for all.

The grown up cast includes Jessica Chastain (Beverly Marsh), James McAvoy (Bill Denbrough), Bill Hader (Richie Tozier), Isaiah Mustafa (Mike Hanlon), Jay Ryan (Ben Hanscom), James Ransone (Eddie Kaspbrak), and Andy Bean (Stanley Uris).

They each do a fabulous job in their roles and manage to emulate their younger counterparts well enough to convince you they are the same characters. The likenesses are uncanny as well, especially James Ransone, who looks like he genuinely was Jack Dylan Grazer from the future. The stand out is Bill Hader, but each one of them has great chemistry with each other and bring their all to their roles.

Returning to terrorise the Losers Club is Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, who is still as creepy and threatening as ever. He certainly makes an impression each time he appears, but unfortunately, this time around he doesn’t have much to do, with the majority of the focus on the Losers. He does a fine job during his appearances and shows off a more vicious side in his pursuit for revenge.

Sticking close to the novel, the film features plenty of flashbacks that expand on the events of Chapter One. It works well within the film and helps fill in any gaps. The returning young cast are great yet again and their chemistry is still top notch.

The main story continues the coming of age tale started in Chapter One, with each of the Losers having to deal with their repressed childhood traumas. It’s an effective story that keeps the characters at the forefront and allows us to get to know them better.

As a continuation of Chapter One, it works well and pays off the story well enough, but as a standalone film, it doesn’t hold up too well, with a lot of prior knowledge required. Anyone trying to just see this film will be completely lost, but may still find it engaging enough to get some enjoyment out of it.

With this being a Stephen King adaptation, there is a large focus on varying horrors, from the disturbingly real to the supernatural. The horror works as well as it did in Chapter One with a large focus on tension building. It isn’t quite as scary though. Part of the scares in Chapter One were that Pennywise could pop up anywhere. Here that doesn’t seem to be the case.

His appearances can still be frightening and intense, but the fact that he is taunting the grown-ups this time doesn’t feel as scary. It could be because audiences have had two years to get used to what this new version of IT can do, but the film still has the power to shock, especially early on.

But it isn’t the horror in which both IT movies excel, it’s the characters. The chemistry between the actors is believable and adds some dramatic weight to the plot. They feel like old friends and each scene where they are all together are easily the best, while also being just as interesting on their own.

Much like Chapter One, this movie has a great sense of humour that balances out the horror, the majority of which comes from Bill Hader’s scene stealing Richie. Where this has been the downfall of many big movies, it works pretty well here and never interferes too much with the tension or drama.

With this story focusing on very supernatural threats, there is a lot of effects work that has gone into the film. For the most part, the effects look pretty good and give life to some pretty inventive creatures. However, there are some sequences that don’t look too great.

The flashback scenes included a lot of de-aging effects to make the young cast look just like they did in Chapter One. It doesn’t look fantastic and their voices sound a little odd, but it isn’t too noticeable. This does beg the question why these scenes weren’t filmed during production on Chapter One, but for the most part these effects work well.

The movie certainly looks great, with some interesting visuals and imagery, including a claustrophobic hall of mirrors. The lighting is perfect and balances out the warmer scenes with the much darker stuff. Sometimes the movie could be a little brighter as certain scenes later on can be a little hard to see, but it does add to the tension and doesn’t take you out of the experience.

The soundtrack, composed by a returning Benjamin Wallfisch (Shazam!) is subtle, but effective. It truly gets under your skin with the scratchy violins and low tones, which know when to hold back and when to surge.

This movie is almost certainly going to draw comparisons to the okay 1990 mini-series, starring Tim Curry, which is justifiable, but unnecessary as both versions are tailored to their time. The two movies feel like the definitive version today, but who knows if we will see another adaptation 27 years from now.

Overall, this is a solid movie with some fantastic acting and effects. This doesn’t quite match the heights of Chapter One, but it does a fine job of concluding the story of Pennywise and the Losers Club in a satisfying way.

Purple Revolver rating: 4/5. “Time to float!”