In 1986, acclaimed author Stephen King published his one-thousand-page horror novel, It. The novel was adapted into a two-part TV miniseries in 1990, which had an iconic villain performance of Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Twenty-seven years later (gasp), It was adapted again into a film in 2017, which quickly became a critical and box office success. Does the sequel, It: Chapter Two, conclude the story in a satisfying and terrifying way?
After the Losers Club defeated Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) in 1989, the kids made a pact that if IT ever terrorised their hometown of Derry, Maine again, they would regroup and destroy him once and for all. Twenty-seven years later, the clown, angrier than ever, awakens from hibernation and the kids of Derry start disappearing again. Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), still in Derry, calls the club, including Bill (James McAvoy), Beverly (Jessica Chastain), Richie (Bill Hader), Ben (Jay Ryan), Eddie (James Ransone), and Stanley (Andy Bean). Despite their obstacles as adults and old fears resurfacing, the group reluctantly return to their hometown to finish what they started.
As mentioned before, the original book of It was over one thousand pages long and had some very complex and, well, controversial and unfilmable story ideas, to put it lightly. So it was a smart decision to split the book into two parts and simplify the story to its best elements. 2017’s It was a charming coming of age story as a group of wonderfully acted kids were brought together for being outcasts… and being harassed by a demonic clown. Director Andy Muschietti returns for It: Chapter Two and manages to successfully balance the adult side of the story as the film concludes the story in a satisfying way. Clocking in at almost three hours long, the story takes its time to rebuild the characters as adults while also expanding the lore of IT. As strong as the characters and story are, similar to the first movie, the actual scares of the film are the weakest aspect as they aim for predictable jump scares, despite some creepy and unsettling imagery.
One of the best aspects of the film is the ensemble cast. Every single member of the Losers Club that were chosen to play their child counterparts were outstanding as they perfectly capture the personalities. Bill Hader as Richie Tozier is almost worth seeing the movie along as his performance is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Jessica Chastain as Beverly and James McAvoy as Bill are also big standouts as they deal with emotional scars when returning to Derry. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown/ IT was just as entertaining and horrifying to watch as he was in the first movie, while also bringing in a slight edge as he wants revenge on the losers as he transforms into different creatures and monsters.
In conclusion, It: Chapter Two is a very solid follow-up to 2017’s It, with an absolutely stellar cast capturing the spirit of the original characters as adults, while also being a very satisfying conclusion to the overall story. While the scares aren’t very effective in my opinion and the 2 hours and 50 minutes running time could come across as a bit daunting, I can definitely recommend seeing It: Chapter Two for horror fans and those who love of the original.