‘IT: Chapter Two’ flawed, but entertaining

Bill+Skarsg%C3%A5rd+plays+as+Pennywise+the+Dancing+Clown%2C+a+cosmic+evil+entity+that+terrorizes+and+hunts+the+children+of+Derry%2C+Maine.+%0A%0A%22IT%3A+Chapter+Two%22+official+website+photo
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‘IT: Chapter Two’ flawed, but entertaining

Bill Skarsgård plays as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a cosmic evil entity that terrorizes and hunts the children of Derry, Maine.

Bill Skarsgård plays as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a cosmic evil entity that terrorizes and hunts the children of Derry, Maine. "IT: Chapter Two" official website photo

Bill Skarsgård plays as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a cosmic evil entity that terrorizes and hunts the children of Derry, Maine. "IT: Chapter Two" official website photo

Bill Skarsgård plays as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a cosmic evil entity that terrorizes and hunts the children of Derry, Maine. "IT: Chapter Two" official website photo

Angel Ortega

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Though it may not have been as captivating as the first film, “IT: Chapter Two” brings a lot to the table, both in visual aesthetics and in narrative.

The film begins 27 years after the events of the first film. Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a.k.a IT, returns to Derry, Maine, where he begins hunting and devouring children. Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), the only member of the Losers’ Club who stayed in Derry after adolescence, contacts the rest of the Losers, informing them that It has returned, reminding them of their pact that if It ever returned, they would return to Derry to defeat it.

First and foremost, I want to admit that I enjoyed the first film more than I enjoyed this one. The storytelling, acting and general creepy eeriness was superior to this sequel. However, that’s not to say that this film does not have value.

I felt the casting of this film was perfect. Though I don’t think anyone delivered a noteworthy performance, the adult actors were fully capable of capturing the essence of their younger counterparts from the previous film, both in physical appearances and demeanors.

Bill Hader’s performance of an older Richie Tozier, for example, perfectly complimented Finn Wolfhard’s performance of a younger Richie because both Hader and Wolfhard were able to deliver vulgar, humorous yet captivating performances.

Hader’s performance as a comic relief throughout the film not only complimented the film, but alleviated a lot of the film’s tension, delivering a nice balance between comedy and horror. Of course, Hader’s comedic abilities come at no surprise considering his continued success on Saturday Night Live.

What I really admired most about the film was its use of surrealism, specifically during the “scarier” scenes of the film.

This film did not hold back, in terms of grotesque visuals.

The use of brutal visuals complimented this film in its desire to deliver a creepy aesthetic that resonated throughout the film. This was especially prevalent during the more gruesome scenes … of which I’ll dive more into detail in the spoilers’ section.

SPOILERS

The murder and death of children is something not often seen in contemporary horror. When it is seen, it’s often poorly executed and, therefore, less effective.

The only instance in which I can recall the death of a child leaving this reporter with an immense sense of dread was in Ari Aster’s debut film, “Hereditary.” However, “IT: Chapter Two” does not hold back. In this film, we see two full, brutal death scenes of Pennywise murdering children.

In one, we see an older Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) attempt to save a young boy from Pennywise inside of a mirror maze. Not only does Bill fail to save the boy, he has to witness Pennywise kill the boy in gruesome fashion.

This type of visual brutality is not seen often enough in horror, be it because directors are too scared to go into that direction, or that they are simply too lazy (looking at you Pet Sematary). However, I think it paid off well in this film.

In another scene, we see Pennywise lure a little girl at a high school baseball game under the bleachers. What was scary, and even gut-wrenching, about this scene was not how Pennywise killed the girl, but how he lured her in the first place: Pennywise used emotionally manipulative tactics, sympathizing with her physical insecurities and revealing his own “insecurities.” These terrifying, manipulative methods truly displayed how evil and relentless Pennywise is when hunting children.

END SPOILERS

Though I can’t say that this film is a perfect adaption of the acclaimed novel, its use of visual horror and Pennywise’s character development really delivers and captures the dark tone that one might feel when reading the novel.

While I’ve listed the positive aspects of this film, “IT: Chapter Two” does have its share of shortcomings; specifically in the end.

I was not a fan of the melodramatic ending. I, for one, revile melodrama to begin with. I rarely ever see it done well in contemporary, mainstream cinema. I won’t say what or how the film ends, but I will say that if there is one word that can best describe the ending sequence, it’s “cheesy.”

Nonetheless, even with its flaws, I still thoroughly enjoyed “IT: Chapter Two” and recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of Stephen King or a fan of decent horror flicks.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] and @AngelOrtegaNews on Twitter.

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