Movie review: IT Chapter Two

Jump scares are paired with terror and nostalgia. Photo courtesy of IMP Awards

Jump scares are paired with terror and nostalgia.
Photo courtesy of IMP Awards

The Losers’ Club returned to theaters last week in the form of IT Chapter Two, this time not as children but as adults set on destroying Pennywise the Clown for good. This second installment maintained the nostalgia and horror of the first, while adding more complexity and emotion of its own, making it a must see for horror fans.

The film is the sequel to IT (2017), which saw seven kids (the Losers’ Club) terrorized by Pennywise, an evil entity who goes on a killing spree every 27 years. Chapter Two takes place, you guessed it, 27 years after the 2017 movie and sees the children of the original as grown-ups who return to Derry, Maine to stop It once and for all.

As with most Stephen King adaptations, the film was eagerly anticipated, both because of the aforementioned author’s work and the cast, starring big names as James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and Jessica Chastain among others. IT was sure not to disappoint. Additionally, the 2017 IT was received with much praise, scoring an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, so fans were excited to see what the conclusion to the story would look like.

There were others, however, who had their reservations. Many were concerned by the inclusion of Bill Hader in the cast, an actor known more for comedy and quirkiness than horror.

Hader, who played Richie Tozier, turned out to be one of the brightest shining stars in the whole movie. In the story, his character grew up to become a famous comedian, a role that is much akin to what Hader does in real life. This meant that he was there to provide some great comedic relief throughout, making sure the overall tone was never dark and dreary for long.

Despite great laughs, however, IT Chapter Two certainly did not disappoint in the scare department. Due to the nature of It being a monster who manifests differently based upon one’s fears, there were a great variety of scares to be had. From grotesque naked old women and insects with tiny, crying baby heads to It’s traditional clown form, there was something present to creep out or downright disturb any given audience member.

The only regrettable part of the film is how heavily it relies on jump scares to deliver horror. Some of the greatest horror films have little to no jump scares and yet remain terrifying because of how well they deliver creepiness and genuine suspense, and while IT Chapter Two did do these things, the majority of the horror came simply from things jumping out and startling the viewer.

Despite this gripe, the film remains solid and worth seeing, if for no other reason than to experience how a movie can simultaneously make one both terrified and feel deeply nostalgic. And, in case that isn’t enough, there is also the cameo from the king of horror himself that, to a Stephen King fan, will not fail to bring forward a big grin.

IT Chapter Two brings a satisfying conclusion to the two-film series. With a good mix of horror, comedy, and emotion, movie fans are sure not to be disappointed.

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