The creepy alien/clown/supernatural creature named Pennywise has returned to scare the pants off you in “It Chapter Two“, the follow-up to the 2017 original. The films are based on the 1986 Stephen King novel, and the frights are plenty. The film is set in 2016, and reunites the characters who in 1989 dealt with the appearance of the creature in their town of Derry, Maine, and supposedly killed “It”. The only member of the friends, who were considered “losers” in their youth, still living in Derry is Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), the town librarian. Mike must convince his fellow members of the Losers Club, which they formed in their youth, to return to Derry, after he witnesses a clue to the return of the supposed dead Pennywise. The gang, as follows: Beverly (Jessica Chastain), Bill (James McAvoy), Richie (Bill Hader), Ben (Jay Ryan), Eddie (James Ransone), and Stanley (Andy Bean), are at first reluctant to return to their hometown to battle the killer clown, but due to a vow made years ago, return to Derry. However, one of the characters fails to make it back because of a tragic occurrence. When the group is reunited in Derry, they dine at a Chinese restaurant where Mike stirs their memories of Pennywise. While at the restaurant they begin to have hallucinations of the fortune cookies coming alive and attacking them. Talk about heartburn! The frightful experience at the restaurant causes a temporary riff in the group as several of them want to leave rather than face possible death at the hands of Pennywise. However, thanks to help from the Shokopiwah Native American Tribe, Mike has a plan that will bring about the final defeat the death of Pennywise. To add to all of this, Beverly has been able to see visions of her friends deaths because she was exposed to It’s Deadlights back in 1989. So the group finally realizes the only way to defeat the beastly clown is to stay together and implement Mike’s plan. Part of the plan is for each member of the group to gather one personal item they left behind in Derry and bring the items together. As they gather the items on their own, they experience terrifying moments with Pennywise. While the friends are gathering their personal items, Henry Bowers (Teach Grant), a psychopath who terrorized the Losers Club in their youth, has escaped the local mental institution with help from Pennywise, and is out to get the gang once more. Eventually the friends descend into an underground cavern beneath the town’s sewer system where they must perform the ritual to defeat Pennywise once and for all. This is where they have the final showdown with the killer clown, and the battle is certainly extreme and thrilling. I did find several parts of the film to be a bit over-the-top, but I suppose you need to take this film as the supernatural horror film it is, and just go with the flow. I love how the film flashes back in time and features new scenes with the original kid actors. The aforementioned effect allows for an extra layer to the film, and conveys how the now adult characters have dealt with the various traumas of their youth, most notably their interactions with Pennywise. The adult actors match perfectly with their child actor counterparts, and all are in top form. I’m not able to single out any particular performance, as they are all wonderful. Of course Bill Skarsgard continues to kill in the role of Pennywise/It, making the character appropriately nightmarish once again. The film does have one effective scene not featured in the book which adds an extra layer of sadness to the character of Bill. The film features loads of “jump worthy” moments, and my companion at the screening even screamed several times. Despite all the scares and chilling moments, the film is really about true friendship and how supposed losers can find happiness and comfort in others who feel as rejected as themselves. So for plenty of Halloween frights, take in a viewing of “It Chapter Two“. There are no post credit scenes so you can leave with your goosebumps when the credits roll. Now playing in theaters.
IT CHAPTER TWO
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