This Friday from director Andy Muschietti, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. is the closing saga of kids and clowns with IT Chapter Two.
It has been twenty-seven years since ‘The Losers’ took out the thing they call ‘it’. Still in town is Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) and he sees a familiar pattern happening in town. People are missing and he sees the all too familiar red balloon.
His only recourse is to call the gang one by one starting with Bill (James McAvoy) who is a writer, Richie (Bill Hader) who has become a stand-up comedian, Ben (Jay Ryan) who is a real estate mogul, Eddie (James Ransone) who is assessment analyst, Beverly (Jessica Chastain) who is repeating her childhood and Stanley (Andy Bean).
With hardly a memory of the incident years ago, they all come because of a promise made. Meeting up they begin to remember the good times hanging out together and the not so good times because of Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard).
When they learn that one of them won’t be joining them, it becomes all to real. Mike has a plan and has spent all his time trying to find a way to destroy It. Their first response is to run but as they remember more and reconnect their friendships, it becomes clear that they can’t escape.
Each of them journey’s back to what happened that summer and what is the one memory they need to defeat Pennywise. Once they all come to terms with that, there is only one thing left to do – head for the gutters and a showdown with the thing that has haunted their lives.
Pennywise has other plans!
McAvoy as Bill knows that he must go to Derry no matter how much his brain says ‘run!’. Seeing the friends of his youth is wonderful, until it isn’t. He still grieves the death of his brother Georgie and once Mike explains things, Bill knows he must see it through. McAvoy stands out in everything he does but here, as part of an ensemble cast, he melds in beautifully into the second part of the story.
Chastain as Beverly comes to terms with her childhood because she is forced too, especially with the life she has set up for herself since the last time she met Pennywise. Chastain is solid with her “all-guy” club as a kid but even more so as an adult. Ransone as Eddie is a man who is almost frozen by fear in all things, including his marriage. As each discussion with the group happens, he becomes the voice of ‘lets get OUT of here!’.
Ryan as Ben is the kid with his own secrets and not all of them have to do with Pennywise. He is a totally different adult and only wants to get away for a second until he also realizes that Bill is right, they’d only be back at 70!
Two outstanding performances here are Hader as Richie because his character, even though holding his own secret, was the comedy of the entire film. Yes, this is a scary movie and Hader’s character makes sure that there are moments to break the tension. Of course Skarsgard as Pennywise is just to damn creepy for words. He is frightening, horrific and the very reason some people absolutely don’t like clowns! Tim Curry may be my youth Pennywise but Skarsgard has given it a different face in a different way that works.
Other cast includes Jaeden Martel as young Ben, Wyatt Oleff as young Stan, Finn Wolfhard as young Richie, Sophia Lillis as young Beverly, Chosen Jacobs as young Mike and Jeremy Taylor as young Ben.
IT Chapter Two is a long movie because there is so much more here than the story of a scary clown. There are answers to questions I didn’t even know I had! The story is intense at times and sad in other frames. In between that is intensity, jumps, yells, frights, a few disgusting characters that I hope to never see again and an audience that joined in every single second of it.
I have to give it two jumps up because I usually don’t yell or jump but I’ll give the special effects their props because I caught myself. What I loved about the ‘horror’ of this horror film is that there isn’t gore for the sake of gore but part of the story and, in a weird way, placed appropriately. In simpler terms it means I was so all in that the one scene where there was a lot of blood made sense to me (I know, I know…weird right?).
From the moment I heard they were remaking IT I wasn’t happy because I’m a fan of originals and believe their day in the sun isn’t over. This retelling puts people in theatre seats to see it on the big screen and it works. Especially since we all love to be scared and if it can be done well then kudos.
The pair of the young characters to their adult counter parts will always remain high on my list. It is very easy to see who is who and that’s because of careful and meticulous casting. I enjoyed the kid version of course because I can relate to that time period when all fun was with friends on bikes riding through town from dawn to dusk in the summertime.
In the matter of Pennywise, well, we all have one don’t we. That’s what I always took from the crazy clown in that he forced the gang to face what made them afraid and in their stories, those fears are relatable for some of us.
There are a few things that I wasn’t sure were necessary (including the time of two hours and 49 minutes) and one door chain goose egg but I’ll save those for a face to face conversation. I truly want everyone to enjoy every scare, jump, sadness and humor that IT Chapter Two has to offer.
So grab a group of friends and spend some time getting closure as well because Pennywise and The Losers Club are going to provide it.
In the end – you’ll float again!