IT: CHAPTER TWO. (2019) BASED ON THE BOOK BY STEPHEN KING. DIRECTED BY ANDY MUSCHIETTI. STARRING JESSICA CHASTAIN, JAMES MCAVOY, BILL HADER, ISAIAH MUSTAFI, JAY RYAN, JAMES RANSONE, ANDY BEAN AND BILL SKARSGARD. WITH A CAMEO FROM STEPHEN KING.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
‘Your hair like winter fire,
My heart burns there, too.’
‘We all float down here.’
‘Hey, Richie! I f**ked your mother.’
Aw, man. I paid fourteen bucks for this movie, lol. I thought Bill Skarsgard was terrific once more in his role of the supremely evil Pennywise the Dancing Clown, but the rest of the really long and convoluted horror film seemed a bit messy to me.
It’s twenty-seven years since the kids from the original movie defeated Pennywise for the first time, and now the clown is back- he returns cyclically every twenty-seven years, for whatever reason- to wreak havoc upon the township of Derry once more. He is helped in his fiendish doings by a particularly nasty homophobic attack at the start of the film, which sees a bunch of local thugs unwittingly providing Pennywise with one of his first victims this time round.
Mike Hanlon, because he’s chosen to live in Derry his whole life, is the member of the original gang of kids charged with the responsibility of dragging the unwilling group back to Derry to grapple with Pennywise again. See how fast they come running, lol.
There isn’t a one of ’em happy to be returning to the place where they made a blood oath twenty-seven years ago, an oath to come back to Derry if Pennywise ever reared his ugly head again. Well, guess what? The clown’s back and he’s playing dirtier than ever.
Mike knows that the only way to put Jack back in his Box is to get the old crowd together again. It’s a bit like, erm, we’re putting the band back together, man, only no band re-union ever made a member commit actual suicide at the mere prospect, as far as I know.
Accountant Stanley Uris, one of the original Losers’ Club, is found dead in his bathful of blood, a razor dangling from his lifeless fingers, shortly after receiving the call from Mike, the town librarian in Derry. Yeah, Mike’s a bit of a buzzkill, to be honest. He’s the one guy you don’t want ringing you up with an invitation.
Anyway, back they all come, the rest of the gang, to good old Derry. There’s drippy Beverley Marsh, whose adult self is made to look a lot like Bryce Dallas Howard’s Aunt Claire from the Jurassic World franchise. Rather confusingly, I thought. There are other looks for women to go around, you know, film-makers, not just the one.
Anyway, Beverley, now a household name as a fashion designer, has swapped one form of imprisonment for another, by exchanging her physically and sexually abusive father for a horribly violent husband. In fact, there’s quite a disturbing scene of domestic violence near the start of the film where this excuse for a man attacks her brutally, just for taking a phone call from Bill Denbrough, one of the gang.
Beverley holds a torch for Bill, now married and a successful mystery novelist, one of whose books is currently being made into a film, because she thinks it was he who sent her a soppy love poem when they were both in high school together.
Bill, by the way, is also the older brother of sweet little Georgie, who was abducted and murdered by Pennywise in the first instalment of the two-parter. Remember the boy in the yellow rain slicker, as the ‘Muricans call it, holding the red balloon on the posters? That’s L’il Georgie.
Bill has been haunted by guilt over Georgie’s death for twenty-seven years. Scared as they all are, he must be itching to get another crack at the clown who killed his little brother. Maybe killing Pennywise once and for all will stop the terrible guilt he carries with him every day.
The bespectacled Richie Tozier, a foul-mouthed loudmouth of a kid, has become a foul-mouthed loudmouth of an adult, only now he’s putting his big fat mouth to good, and no doubt lucrative, use as a successful stand-up comic.
His former sparring partner, hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak, is back now too, looking a lot like Steve Carrell from the American version of ‘The Office,’ and the pair resume their love-hate relationship that consists mainly of really lame ‘Yo’ Mamma’ jokes. The ‘humour’ in the film is pretty awful. It really drags it down. Eddie is now a risk assessor and has married a woman too like his over-protective mother for it to be a coincidence.
The formerly tubby Ben Hanscom has become the handsome rich architect Ben Hanscom, and that’s about it. Beverley has a thing for Bill, but surely she won’t fail to notice heart-throb Ben? Bill is married, after all, and I’m sure she doesn’t want to be a little home-wrecker. Or does she? She’s married herself too, after all. Although, in all fairness, her husband is an abusive prick and the sooner she divorces his sorry ass, the better it’ll be for her.
Anyway, the chess pieces are all back on the board and ready to rock and roll. Now to kill Pennywise, using an ancient Native American Indian ritual painstakingly researched by Mike. Shame to waste it, certainly. Down, down, down into the murky sewers they go. Twenty-seven years ago, here they come…!
I’m not crazy about the ‘Killing Pennywise’ bit. That part of the movie seems more like a combination action-adventure-fantasy film than a true horror movie, and even the music in this bit is more like something you’d hear in a big Steven Spielberg Christmas blockbuster-type film than anything else. It just didn’t seem to fit the horror written in the great man’s book and now transported to the big screen.
I must point out that the gang of kids-now-adults have the run of the place at the Derry townhouse. No staff man the hotel whatsoever, neither do other patrons frequent it. Ditto Mike’s library, and, to be honest with you, most of the township of Derry as well. It felt a bit like only the main actors and no-one else was allowed to use the admittedly very impressive sets that were built for the film. I’m sure their massive budget allowed for extras, so where were they?
My favourite bit of the film was Stephen King’s cameo as a cantankerous old second-hand store owner, and the only part that scared me, in an otherwise unscary film littered with CGI boogeymen and too many darn flashbacks, was the bit in Beverley’s old house with Mrs. Kersh, the old lady. And not the old lady as a CGI streaker but purely as her human self. There’s something about really old ladies that scares people, which is why they pop up so often in horror movies.
You know, there’s talk of a ‘three-quel’ to this franchise, that would have to be written from scratch as the book has already been filmed in its entirety. I’ll watch it if and when it comes out, because obviously I, like everyone else on the planet right now, have a massive case of FOMO (fear of missing out), but I won’t be happy about it.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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