I never cry while watching horror movies because I live for the adrenaline rush of a spooky story and heaping amounts of gore, but It Chapter Two broke my streak. While the movie has the most terrifying clown villain to date, its special effects and convoluted storyline went to extremes that made it way too comical in several scenes.
The Losers’ Club returns to Derry, Maine, 27 years after defeating Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) — or so they thought. The child-eating clown is back with a vengeance, and once the band of friends remembers the several days of Pennywise’s torment they experienced as kids, they reunite to finally end his reign of terror. While collecting artifacts to hold a Native American ritual meant to seal Pennywise away in a box forever, the Losers’ Club has to face troubling aspects of their lives growing up, their insecurities, and previously extinguished flames.
I went in hoping the story would balance out Pennywise’s antics, but many of the scenes were difficult to take seriously because of the over-the-top special effects, even though I was dying inside because there’s a massive shapeshifting clown on the screen. Although you’re freaking out because Pennywise is going ham eating kids and trying to kill the Losers, some scenes go so far that they become weird and cheesy instead of creepy and gross, like the corpse of Patrick Hockstetter (Owen Teague) driving the possessed Henry Bowers (Teach Grant) around on his murder spree, the statue of Paul Bunyan trying to kill Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), and the giant, naked old lady, Mrs. Kersh (Joan Gregson). However, I will never be able to remove several images from my mind, including Pennywise eating a little girl, Victoria Fuller (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) — for obvious reasons — the clown licking a window in the carnival funhouse — I’m internally cringing — and young Stanley Uris’ (Wyatt Olef) head talking and then turning into a spider. Also, Jessica Chastain (Beverly Marsh) was right when she said that there will be buckets of blood — and I’ll just leave that part to your imagination until you see it for yourself.
While the wacky special effects and the weird tie-in to Native American folklore can be a turn off for horror fans, the cast holds the movie together. In this sequel, audiences get to see the great work of the Losers’ Club child cast members alongside their adult counterparts, who bring their own serious acting chops. James McAvoy (Billy Denbrough), Chastain, Hader, Isaiah Mustafa (Mike Hanlon), James Ransone (Eddie Kaspbrak), Jay Ryan (Ben Hanscom), and Andy Bean (Stanley Uris) seamlessly match their adult characters’ personas to the child versions. This helps to add cohesiveness to the story, despite the multiple time jumps that can get confusing. Hader and Ransone did a great job of breaking up any tension in the movie with their characters’ love/hate relationship and consistent teasing. Throughout the movie, you feel for the club and want the members to pull through this fight and be together forever.
Overall, the finale to the big-screen version of Stephen King’s It is lackluster, despite the fact that I had no chill the entire time. If you have intense coulrophobia, don’t submit yourself to that torture, but fans will enjoy the jokes and the chemistry between the actors. You’ll still have a fun time, but you’ll walk away remembering that nothing good ever happens in bathrooms or at carnivals, not all fortune cookies are lucky, and the HBO miniseries is better.
Photos: New Line Cinema