If you were to ask me over ten years ago if I was a fan of the horror genre, I probably would have said “sort of.” Recently however, we’ve been getting films that I like to call “smart horror” as they are films that attempt a clever and/or creative approach to the genre. Some recent examples include Get Out, It Follows, A Quiet Place, Us, and It (2017). So when I when I heard they were making It Chapter Two, I was pretty excited to see it (no pun intended).
Set in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, in the year 2016 (twenty-seven years after the events of the first film), It Chapter Two follows a set of characters called the Losers Club, the name of the group they call themselves when they were kids. They reunite after a creature called IT (a shapeshifting evil being with Pennywise the clown being it’s primary form) resurfaces to terrorize and eat victims in their hometown. They do this because during the events of the last film they swore an oath stating if IT comes back they have to do whatever they can to stop this living nightmare.
What I admire most about It Chapter Two film is what I liked about the last film which is the camaraderie and personality of the Losers Club that director Andy Muschietti successfully re-captures, and the central theme of banding together to stop a problem before it harms anyone else. At one point, when things start getting more chaotic, it is emphasized that “we have to stick together,” which may seem cliché, but is central theme in the film. The thought of characters having that mentality is something that I enjoy quite a bit. After all, as we are taught, one greater thing is there to do than to lay one’s life down for one’s friend? Another thing that I really liked was the atmosphere that the director again manages to bring back from the first installment as the haunting imagery and paranoia really works well here, especially when it happens in daylight, not a common occurrence in horror films.
While I praise It Chapter Two for having great atmosphere and characters, I do have to criticize it for the shortcomings. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of smart horror films and while this does have fun creative and moments, there are also moments that didn’t make sense or felt completely unnecessary. One throw away moment is one character (I won’t say who it is for spoiler reasons) commits suicide near the beginning of the movie and while it’s brought up at the end explaining the characters motives, it’s a pretty dumb explanation. Thus the act becomes pointless, besides suicide being an awful thing in the first place. In addition, if you do see this film be prepared to stay for awhile as it is two hours and forty-nines minutes long. This didn’t bother towards the end, but the second act (while it did have some creepy moments) felt patted with scenes that weren’t necessary to the plot, but the director felt like he wanted more scares. Usually when I find myself impatient in a flick I’ll discreetly check my phone for the time and I found myself doing that quite a bit with this one.
If you’re not a fan of horror films and you’re on the fence on this one then this film is probably not for you, especially with with its violence and creepy imagery. If you are, however, the kind of person that likes to get spooked and have been anticipating this sequel, then you’ll have a great time with it despite the flaws.