In IT: Chapter Two - following the hugely successful semi-adaptation from 2017 - screenwriter Gary Dauberman plunges into repressed memories and traumas to try and destroy the monster within. In many ways, this whole horrible experience is like a sadistic form of psychotherapy.
monster is IT, or Pennywise the Clown – a supernatural entity
floating around the small Maine town of Derry, ripping apart the souls and
bodies of children, before hibernating for another 27 years. Now he’s re-emerged
from the historic sewers, and he’s worse, much, much, much worse. There’s only
one gang of Derryians who can stop him: the Losers’ Club.
The Losers' Club, reunited
Hanlon is the only Loser to remain in Derry, the only one who remembered what
happened. When ‘the terror’ (as King called it) returns, Mike rings up the Losers, who have moved away and grown into taller, hairier, ganglier versions
of their child selves. The kids also cycle around Chapter Two in flashbacks, like an elegant compendium of Deleted Scenes from Chapter One.
Chapter Two, more than the first, excels in the horror and the humour – often
joining together like a wedding party smeared in blood and confetti, creating a
never-ending fit of entertainment. When the Losers’ Club reunite in a Chinese
restaurant, they return to the loving, laughing joy they experienced as
11-year-olds, but with added alcohol. The mock one another, harp back to old times and make immature 'Your Mum' jokes.
director Rich Delia really outdoes himself. The grown-up actors’ chemistry boils and laughs together as much as the kids’. The comic chemistry between the hilarious double-act Bill
Hader and James Ransone (playing Richie and Eddie) is a highlight, and even threatens to upstage the central
love triangle performed by James McAvoy (Bill), Jessica Chastain (Bev), and Jay
Ryan (Ben, who’s now lost weight and grown into some model-level looks).
IT (Bill Skarsgard) is worse - much, much, much worse
it’s not long before Pennywise raises his ugly head, or an ominous red balloon,
or an army of soul-shocking monstrosities. As a film that scratches
the three-hour mark (just a tad too much), it’s an awfully long time for the
viewer’s heart and lungs to be gripped as if in a vice. Pennywise enters in bloody
drips and drabs at first, but he’s always there: watching, waiting. This
occasionally leads into baggy pockets of supernatural silliness with the, um,
Ritual of Chüd, but it’s all part of the ridiculous fun.
Chapter Two veers away from the original book, there are creepy
reminders of the atmosphere created by King. In one interaction with Richie, Pennywise looks and speaks from afar, taunting him, distorting his reality, and revealing his true fears via petrifying visions.
Bill Skarsgard returns as the
face-painted conjurer of fears, and there’s not a shred of humanity in his
evil, twisted performance, which more than matches Tim Curry’s version in the 1990
miniseries adaptation. To go even further: IT is this generation’s Freddy
Krueger, making Skarsgard the modern Robert Englund.
Gary Dauberman and director Andy Muschietti struggle more with the emotional
drama between the characters, either hitting or missing. But the hits strike
hard, especially with Stan, who lays plenty of tear-jerking
messages about memory, childhood, and the value of being who you are – no matter the
monsters that live among or within us.
|What||IT: Chapter Two review|
06 Sep 19 – 06 Sep 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|