Stephen King’s beloved horror novel comes full circle with the second chapter and conclusion to its big screen remake. The children who make up the original ‘Losers’ Club’ return as adults to the fictional town of Derry, Maine, 27 years after the events of the first movie.
Andy Muschietti resumes as director, as does Bill Skarsgard as the titular Pennywise the Clown who delivers a very unsettling performance. The actors who play the adult counterparts are absolute casting perfection with James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh, Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, Isiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon, Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom and Andy Bean as Stanley Uris, all being very convincing as the grown up members of the Losers Club. I almost wonder if they were cast prior to the unknown child actors in the first film. Surprisingly, Bill Hader becomes the most valuable player, giving a nuanced performance while bringing much needed sarcasm and humour to the script.
In full disclosure, I’ll admit I have never read the book, nor have I seen the 2-part TV movie from 1990. So, I have little to compare this remake against. However, for an adaptation of a 1100+ page novel, the films feel a bit light on content and the story a little flimsy, with a focus on visually impressive style and set pieces over substance. The story development is predictable and does not bring in anything new from Chapter 1, except for the aged protagonists. There are hints in this sequel to a greater supernatural background of the evil force that spawned Pennywise, but it is never fully explained. The plot is full of holes and unexplained suggestive moments, and the characters are not fleshed out in a way to make you care enough for their inevitable success or demise against Pennywise. The villain’s true motives are never fully realised either, adding to this sense of disinterest. This is easily digestible horror made for the masses. The scares are predictable and not overly affecting.
That being said, the 2hr 45min run time never drags and serves a somewhat satisfying conclusion to the films, and for that, IT: Chapter Two is worth watching. I left with the hope that it is truly the ‘end of IT’ as the films marketing tagline suggests.