15 June 2024

Film Review – ‘IT Chapter 2’ (2019)

It deserves to have all the success at the box office. It’s a cinematic masterpiece of mainstream horror with exceptional character driven scenarios. The adult ensemble cast is so strong as the interaction between them is perfect. One would believe that they studied the mannerisms of the original teen cast and kept as faithful to them as possible. The audience would easily believe that the older cast is identifiable to the younger cast, except now grown up. Each adult fits perfectly to their teen self like a glove.

In 2016, 27 years after terrorising the town of Derry, Maine, the big-headed clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is back with sheer terror and dread, as a body count is rising in his resurrection. Having researched the monster’s history, Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) tracks down the estranged members of The Losers’ Club, getting them to maintain their oath that if It comes back, they promise to fight once more. Each character except Mike has moved on to be financially successful. Although something is still holding them back to reach pure happiness. E.G. Beverly Marsh played flawlessly by Jessica Chastain is wealthy in profession, but abused by her husband.

The vignettes of each character build the films arc without a glitch. When we see each character react to Mike’s phone call, they all present nausea, fear and anxiety to a T. To see Bill Hader play Richie Tozier throw up vigorously then to be forced to perform his duties as a stand-up comedian, makes us empathise that when our troubled childhood catches up with us, it is impossible not to mix the personal with the professional.

Once the Loser Club reunite in a Chinese restaurant, the fun and horror truly begins as they hallucinate Pennywise haunt and taunt them. The horrific scenes of Pennywise devouring and gnawing at his victims flesh is gruesome. Andy Muschietti has upped his anti to make this sequel more terrifying than its predecessor. The murders, the mayhem and graphic killings truly identify this film as pure horror and secure a place in a high list of one of the greatest horror films ever. This is due to being 90% faithful to Stephen King’s novel who also has a great eerie cameo.

The special effects are outstanding as the flashbacks of the original teen cast have many new scenes. By now, their voices have broken and all grown somewhat. The effects to make them all look the way they did and sound the way they did in 2017 is noticed and truly appreciated.

Once the adult cast reunite and disperse in their independent quest to track Pennywise, each character is plagued and haunted with true scares. The tension and terror is at a serious high level, that those who scare easily will be truly provoked. However, those who don’t as they are so used to horror will be only impressed by the story, acting and direction. In other words a horror fan will sleep with the lights off easily, but be still entertained.

James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader are the true standouts of the Losers. McAvoy’s stutter is faithful to the character of Bill Denbrough and shows the most resilience as well as vulnerability. Chastain is also fantastic being the only female member of the club. She shows her fear and panic like a true scream queen, making her a conventional horror heroine. On the other hand Bill Skarsgård defines pure evil and has fun with being allowed to exaggerate Pennywise’s madness. His villainy is on the level of Heath Ledger’s Joker. If anyone with coulrophobia watches this film, they will be beyond scarred for life. They would be sectioned to an asylum as paranoid, delusional and traumatised!

Overall the film’s moral is to stay true to your friends and look out for one and other. Friend’s must protect each other no matter what. It might sound preachy to not let each other down, but all in all it’s a valid point. It Chapter 2 is unnecessarily long at 169 minutes, however Andy Muschietti has an ambitious objective which is to turn his film in to a horror epic which is an acceptable reason, but some may think being overly long is the only flaw for a near perfect horror sequel.

Aly Lalji| [rating=4]

Horror | USA, 2019 | 15 | 6th September 2019 (UK) | Warner Bros Pictures | Dir.Andy Muschietti | James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Skarsgard, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Andy Bean

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