IT Chapter Two’ review
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
IT Chapter Two was released on September 6. Directed by Andrés Muschietti and based on the story by Stephen King, IT Chapter Two follows the story of the Losers Club 27 years after the events of IT (2017). Per the trailer, the main antagonist Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård) is back, despite members of the Losers Club believing the clown was defeated at the end of the first movie. (Spoilers ahead!)
The entire movie jarringly goes from present-time scenes of the adults to memory scenes of their childhood counterparts. This is also done far too many times and most of the scenes just re-cap what we already knew from the first movie. Disappointingly, the best scene in the movie was right at the beginning. The Losers Club members each get a call from Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) who informs them that they must come back to the town of Derry. The adult versions of the original group reunite at a Chinese restaurant. Catching up, they throw playful jabs at each other and the scene does a fantastic job at reintroducing the characters as their adult selves. The humour in this scene is gold and explains the characters’ personalities, fears, and relationships with each other clearly.
There is an undeniable chemistry between the actors. Richie (Bill Hader) and Eddie (James Ransone) are hilarious as a duo, while Bill (James McAvoy) and Bev (Jessica Chastain) create tension in every scene they appear in together. Respectively, any scene the latter duo appear in with Ben (Jay Ryan) becomes awkward due to dramatic irony where the audience knows Ben is madly infatuated with Bev, but she remains unaware.
The love triangle plot takes up too many scenes, and although the movie makes it seem like the audience is supposed to root for Ben, he is ridiculously creepy.
Young Bev (Sophia Lillis) doesn’t demonstrate any flirtatious behaviour towards young Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and yet the plot has Ben keep a page of his yearbook (signed only by Bev) in his wallet for 27 years. The young Bev and Bill (Jaeden Martell) coupling was cute in the first movie, sure, but I wasn’t invested in their adult half-hearted relationship at all. Also, the love triangle trope is embarrassingly cliché. Luckily, the feelings obviously run deep (shared trauma and all that) but that’s the only redeemable part.
We all know that the gang should never split up (thank you Scooby-Doo), but as all good horror movies know, vulnerability makes a dangerous situation that much scarier. The characters acknowledge that splitting up is dumb but do it anyway because there is “no other choice.”
The best scares in the movie used the classic anticipation and darkness plays. I knew each time a jump scare was coming, yet it still got me every time. A huge aspect to thank for this is the sound engineering and scores that went into creating that dreadful feeling. I noticed the classic minor key trombone with reverb used often to build up what was coming next.
Pennywise’s ability to induce hallucinations in his victims was used terrifically. There were many scenes that were dizzying with effects making you feel like you’re tripping the hell out, like scenes in Doctor Strange and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The movie made great use of the unknown, as well, for the audience never knew what was coming. The surround sound is especially exciting. Being in the dark with the characters and hearing a cry or demonic noise from behind really puts you in the atmosphere.
The gore affects are done realistically and are very uncomfortable to watch. Most of the creatures in the movie are CGI, and they are pretty hit or miss. Some look goofy and unrealistic, while others (like a decapitated talking human head with spider legs) are disturbing, to say the least.
Most disturbing though, is the sewer scene where the characters don’t even hesitate to step right into the disgusting sewer water with their shoes and socks on. Worse—they get deeper and eventually start swimming in it! They didn’t even flinch but God, I did.
Before the big final fight, the Losers have their pep talk hyping each other up, saying “Losers stick together. Let’s kill this fucking clown!”
Too bad the ending sucks. That’s right—I said it. Throughout the entire movie the Losers are amped up and go through perilous tasks in order to perform a ritual that Mark had spent 27 years researching, which was all for jack. Instead, they throw some primary school insults at Pennywise until he’s a baby. “You’re just a fucking clown motherfucker! You’re an idiot! You’re stupid and ugly!” the Losers yell, and for whatever reason, this works as the big kill move.
The horror movie did its job as a good horror movie: It gave me a spooky thrill. It did not, however, do its job as a good movie, alone. The throwbacks were jarring, the plot focused on too many points that were either uninteresting or completely pointless in accordance with the ending, and the kid scenes stole the show throughout the movie. Turns out scary just isn’t enough.