It: Chapter Two review: the comedy/horror that lacks in frights (spoiler free)
Updated: May 9
2017 saw the first half of Stephen King’s It adaptation break records for horror films. Unfortunately, Chapter Two loses the simplicity that made it so enjoyable and overstays its welcome.
The Losers’ Club are all grown up and return to their hometown in order keep the oath they made together 27 years ago, but now they lead different lives. Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) is a renowned author; Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) is still a hypochondriac, only now in risk assessment; Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) has put his quick-witted sense of humour to use and become a comedian; Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) is still living somewhat in her past with her new husband; and Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) is no longer the cute, chubby kid we were introduced to. He’s still just as sweet, only now he has abs. However, the only two that really remember Pennywise and the past are Stanley Uris (Andy Bean), who fears their enemy the most, and Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), who has locked himself away in hopes of finding a way to, as Richie puts it so gently: “kill this fucking clown”.
Despite an excellent cast, there are very few times you remember you’re watching a horror, even in one of the creepiest of scenes. Bevely visits her childhood home where an elderly woman makes her tea, as seen in the trailer. As the tension builds, it appears that something truly terrifying is about to emerge after seeing a haunting figure scamper past the doorway. Though, surprisingly, we come face-to-face with a naked zombie of sorts that’s enough to make you laugh out loud. Later in the film is just the same, with spider-heads, and lepers with their tongue’s in people’s mother’s mouths.
Beep, beep, Richie.
There were some nice homages to classic horror films, such as Psycho, and Benjamin Wallfisch does a beautiful job of making the final scenes appear unfathomably thrilling with the soundtrack, it’s just a shame it’s let down by the over-complicated plot and comical finish. The messy ending made Pennywise not only less-terrifying, but a punchline in a 3-hour joke.
Luckily, It doesn’t lose the heart and humanity that made the first film so enjoyable. Richie and Eddie still continue with the back and forth banter even into their thirties, but there are flashbacks to the younger Derry kids that are heart-warming and hilarious. What was really interesting about the flashbacks is the singled-out stories they told of the kids and their experiences with Pennywise alone; with a deeper look into their young lives. Richie (Finn Wolfhard) is taunted and attacked by Pennywise at a fair, as he claims he would reveal Richie’s “dirty little secret”; Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) has to make the choice between himself and his mother as his biggest fear draws closer; and Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) has Pennywise appear right in front of his eyes who proceeds to bully and belittle the preteen. The flashbacks add a little more to the characters, even as adults, that are pretty heart-wrenching.
What stands out most from Ben’s flashbacks is his admiration for Bev, despite her fixation on Bill. It’s been 27 years since the Bill and Beverly kiss of Chapter One, so whether her heart is always with him is in question. The relationship doesn’t really add much to the film itself as Richie and his own “secret” preoccupy the mind.
While It: Chapter Two might not live up to it’s first half, it’s certainly enjoyable and heart-warming. The older cast are equally as fun as the first one with Bill Hader and James Ransone stealing the spotlight, much like their younger versions. While there are few frights and it’s unlikely to give you a sleepless night, you can’t have enough of The Losers’ Club.
Images courtesy of Warner Bros.