Release: 2019 Director: Andy Muschietti
Two years have passed for us, the audience, since we saw the Losers club defeat the entity known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. For them, its been 27 years and they have to come together again as IT returns to feast upon the town of Derry. They are older and have lost their memories about what happened to them so long ago, but the promise they made is real and they will have to find a way to stop their nightmare from killing even more people.
I very much enjoyed the last outing we had in the town of Derry (I guess you could call it Chapter 1 now) and the expectations for this one were sky high. The first chapter had an incredible cast, was funnier than most horror could ever dream of without coming off as campy, and actually had legitimate scares. I can safely say that all of these attributes can be applied to the sequel. However, only one thing holds the next chapter from becoming a true horror great.
Looking back at this film, there really isn’t anything too egregious that would make any fan of the original walk not enjoy this just as much. The casting department deserves an award for this series, once again nailing every role. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa, and James Ransone look just like if you took the child actor cast and threw them into an ageing machine. A huge shout-out to Bill Hader for being a perfect fit for an older Richie, he captures the quirks of his younger counterpart beautifully and has easily the funniest moments in the film. Which is another surprising part about the sequel, it is just as funny as the first. Thank in part to the excellent casting and being able to feel like this is a group of friends coming back together.
On the opposite end, Bill Skarsgard returns as Pennywise and was given much more screen time. Rightfully so, his performance is just incredible. When it is Skarsgard just going insane on screen and tricking children into dark corridors, he is terrifying. There are some moments where the tension build up works very well and has a great pay off. So if you have such amazing talent and a clear vision for this movie, all pieces that made the first chapter so brilliant, what could bring this down?
There is one aspect of this film that becomes very apparent as you watch it. The length. This chapter almost clocks in at 3 hours, which normally isn’t a bad thing. I have seen plenty of films that run 3+ hours, so why would this experience be any different? Truthfully, it isn’t as though there is too much padding to the run time. The group has to learn what their basic fear is to over come it and defeat IT, thus they go through (very well edited) flashbacks to their childhood to learn more about themselves. The ending is where the film shows it run time, feeling like a never ending battle of IT against our hero’s. There are great moments during this, but you can feel those extra scenes start to fatigue you. This is Chapters 2’s greatest fault, being just a bit too long for the kind of mental fatigue that can set in.
In a way Chapter 2 is more like the book it is based on. Going from adults to when they were kids to really understand why IT hunts them. “IT” also shows that with such a dedicated vision such as Muschietti’s can work to create one of the best pairings of films in recent years. It still still scare you, make you laugh and care for the Losers club all over again, you just might need a nap after you get home. Easily worth your time though, can you survive going back to Derry?