IT: CHAPTER 2 [2019]


it-chapter-two-poster


Pennywise is back, brutally killing a gay man after a violent, homophobic encounter (apparently a ‘controversial’ inclusion according to clickbait experts) in the opening moments, announcing his return from hibernation. Mike soon pieces together other incidents in the area and calls his old friends to reunite, as he has never left Derry.

They aren’t hot on the idea, but they all meet Mike and find that they don’t remember much, if anything, about the town they grew up in. Soon, the one of most creatively spooky sequences (a large flying insect with the face of a baby, anyone?) prompts most of the group to leave dodge as quickly as possible, with many ‘fucks’ thrown in Mike’s direction for bringing them to town just to experience this. He is however able to convince Bill to hear him out, and Mike helps Bill to recall every event that Mike can, who has seemingly stayed in Derry to wait for the 27-year cycle to repeat itself. Slowly the rest of the characters come to an agreement to stay and honour their promise.

This second chapter of Stephen King’s masterful novel is, much like the first, a strange mix of fantastically memorable scenes and, unfortunately, a hefty dose of lazy jump-scares that could appear almost anywhere in the film with the same effect, or lack thereof.

This is compounded by a large dish of lame humour. Let’s ignore the attempts at ‘jokes’ that occur when the action isn’t heating up, as more importantly, potentially superb sequences are routinely ruined by attempts at humour.

When the most horrific parts of your horror film have large portions of the audience bursting into laughter, there is something amiss. Amusingly, these sequences indeed feature the funniest moments, which only succeed in murdering scenes obviously intended to scare

Oddly enough, the casting of Bill Hader as the wise-cracking Richie is the principle reason for this. Rather that having him play against type for example, his fantastic comic chops harm nearly every action scene he is a part of as he persists with one-liners. They are certainly funny thanks to his well-known fantastic comic delivery and timing, but this is the problem. If there is any way to kill a potentially scary scene, inserting a wisecrack or two near guarantees success.

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Hader can hardly be blamed, he is simply working from the material he has been given. This problem, much less evident in the first chapter, lands on the shoulders of now sole screenwriter Gary Dauberman, who’s increased responsibility is painfully obvious.  Recent efforts of his include The Nun and yet another Annabelle film, both of which were, to put it nicely, far from great. 

Additionally, nearly every moment that truly matters within most action scenes suffer from his script, which at times devolve into the words ‘fuck’ and ‘motherfucker’ being yelled an embarrassing amount of times. Yes, this is an R-rated film, but there is a limit where eventually the words start to sound meaningless and almost laughable.

A smaller problem with these moments is the sometimes overwhelming music by Benjamin Wallfisch that can be too prominent in the mix, often not content to sit back and simply compliment the action. Outside of these scenes, it simply sounds generic and forgettable, which is surprising given his experience working as a composer.

Funnily enough, Hader is easily the most impressive of the cast. However James McAvoy seems to be on autopilot, as is Chastain, while Jay White as Ben, yet another product of the Australian soap opera Neighbours, at least seems to be trying. Isaiah Mustafa as Mike is solid and is hopefully a name to watch in the future.

It is disappointing, though unfortunately unsurprising, as much like the first chapter, Mike’s background as a child is barely explored, unlike the rest of the crew. This is primarily an issue due to him clearly being the most important character of the two films as a whole, not to mention that the book does delve into his story. 

Gripes aside, which of course I have many, the film excellently explores the delicate nature of memory, and how we unconsciously decide what is forgotten and what remain as clear memories, often based on feelings of guilt, shame or abuse, all of which apply to the young heroes in different ways. It also accurately shows that memories can be repressed, as well as how they can sometimes be ‘unlocked’ when familiar sights, locations or feelings trigger flashbacks. This last point is made emphatically as the first act, for the most, part consists of the characters reliving their traumatic past, convincing them that Mike isn’t fooling around. 

Obviously the nature of fear plays a large part in how Pennywise approaches his prey, and despite the climax in which ‘poorly-scripted’ might as well be engraved on the screen, it invokes thought as to what we fear subconsciously as opposed to how we perceive them logically. They all have their own unique fears, which all play off each other well and their determination to conquer them recreate old bonds as they walk towards their inevitable attempt to defeat Pennywise.

The incarnations of the characters’ fears are fantastically creative and create legitimate tension when there aren’t any attempts at humour. An air of confusion appropriately hangs in the air regarding reality versus fear, surrounding much of the film, though this does leave one plot strand involving a character from the previous film swinging aimlessly in the wind. The few scenes involving this character seem real as they leave physical scars, but none of this serves any purpose and this sub-plot is left unfinished well before the end. Perhaps it is intentionally confusing and simply another manifestation of a fear, but I don’t buy it.

These scenes as well other overlong sequences throughout add to the severely bloated run-time as yet another film demonstrates that the role of the editor is becoming less important as the years go by. First Endgame, next Tarantino’s overlong mess, and now this.

Chapter 2 is not very different from Chapter 1. Both are confused movies that try to cover more ground than they are capable of, and unless you are particularly squeamish, or young, it is hard to imagine any of the more ‘shocking’ scenes truly scaring anyone. Yes, there is more blood, more disgusting imagery. But really, is this truly scary? Obviously, each viewer will have a different feeling about that.

Or perhaps I am disturbingly de-sensitised, which is most certainly a possibility. Either way though, this is just another film filled with jump-scares, albeit one that displays impressive creativity. Ultimately, Chapter 2 is its own worst enemy, slicing its best scenes with its own knife. 


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A final, rather pointless note – in both of these films, what is it with all the characters heavily emphasising the word ‘It’ every time they say the word, as if they are saying it with a capital letter and are aware of the film’s title. Its not a bad thing, its just… weird.

24 Comments on “IT: CHAPTER 2 [2019]

  1. Yeah, I heard this was a big disappointment. I was a huge Stephen King fan growing up, and It made a huge impact on me as kid, but even though I enjoyed the first movie, it kinda lacked the depth of the book. I’m still planning on catching this next week, though mostly due to my fandom of Bill Hader. Nice review Jordan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hader was awesome but despite his comic past, I thought he was miscast. Especially after that ‘Barry’ show, which I haven’t seen yet but have heard it shows off his non-comedic chops

      You heard this was a disappointment? I thought I’d be totally alone, the few reviews I have read were much more positive.

      But I think it mostly comes down to your interpretation of horror. Gore and blood doesn’t do anything for me. I love my psychological horror, like Repulsion and the like. But they don’t make those sorta movies much anymore, the only recent ones in that vein I can think of is The Babadook (keep an eye out for that director’s new film The Nightingale btw, its a brutal depiction of an ugly period in Australian history) and also mother! to a certain extent.

      But none of them touch Repulsion for me!! I can watch that over and over. Early Polanski is frickin awesome, hell I even like that quirky film he did in between Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby – Cul De Sac. Its quite funny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most of the reviews I’ve read have described It 2 are pretty lackluster. But yeah, like you I much prefer psychological horror over blood and guts, but I do think we’ve received an abundance of top notch films of the genre (besides The Babadook, The Witch comes to mind as well as It Comes at Night; even though I was not the biggest fan of Ari Aster’s Hereditary or Midsommar, I do think they are well made pictures).

        I’m actually going to see Nightingale this Friday. I’m excited!

        And yeah, you’ve got to watch Barry; probably my favorite current show on TV.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hell yes, The Nightingale is one of the best Aussie flicks I have ever seen. The director said in the Q&A that she did a ton of research and interviewing to make it authentic. I hope you like it, you must tell me what you think! I’m so glad to hear it secured international distribution.

        Have you seen Sweet Country from last year? That was amazing too, we really can crank out some belters when the resources are there

        I need to see It Comes at Night, I’ve always trusted your judgement so I’ll bump that up my watchlist. Agreed on the other flicks you mentioned, I kinda liked Hereditary but loved Midsommar. So fucked up! And at the very least its awesome to see some fuckin’ originality… unlike It 2!!

        Did you like It Follows? I’d put that in that list you mentioned too, though its been years since I saw it.

        And I can’t wait to see Hader in Barry!!! I just downloaded S01 woot woooot! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haven’t seen sweet country will add that to my watch list. I did catch It Follows, but admittedly I wasn’t big into that either

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah that was five years ago, I’m a totally different person now so it’d be interesting to see what I think of it now. That’s one of the best things about movies, your perception of them changes as you get older.

        Sweet Country is heart-wrenching, but it looks AMAZING – it was shot in my state near the mountains and looks so goddamned good. Its an Outback Western, that’s another one I’d love to hear your thoughts on

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a damn brilliant last line Jordan. What a great review.

    I’ll definitely be taking it into consideration when I walk — begrudgingly somewhat — into this movie myself. I think peer pressure is playing a part in me seeing the second part. I really didn’t much care for IT Part 1, so why I would enjoy more remains a huge question. I guess the cast is attracting me, but I can see how Bill Hader will be a distraction. I actually wasn’t aware he was going to be in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really do think it was a mistake to cast him the way they did, especially when Barry shows his range.

      ‘ begrudgingly somewhat’, haha! I never bothered with the first chapter, Stephen King adaptations rarely work unless someone like Kubrick has the balls to change what is needed to make a good movie.

      I actually saw a double feature Wednesday night, so I saw both 1 and 2 in succession. Pity they were so incredibly average, cos the double feature idea was really cool I thought, with a smoke break inbetween the two films as well hehe 😀

      btw thanks so, so much for the kind words mate. It fuckin means so much, seriously. Hopefully I’ll believe it myself one day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s Jay RYAN, man.

        Shame you didn’t enjoy it more. I didnt find the first one scary so I am not expecting this to be either. It’s not really fair to expect a blockbuster horror to be as scary as something psychologiical like Midsommar or The VVitch where the directors explore loneliness as biggest villain. This is adaptation of a book about killer clown. The only route to take is fun. Also I really liked Annabelle Comes Home

        Like

      • Huh? Who’s Jay Ryan?

        Since I saw them in succession I guess I didn’t know what I was in for, having not seen the first and all.

        The only reason I actually bothered seeing this was the praise people gave the first one. But then the director started bigging up the new one, literally saying ‘there will be more scares than the first’ and the like. ‘Fun’ didn’t seem like the vibe he was going for. A fun horror movie sounds like an oxymoron to me! Either way I obviously missed the ‘scares’ that were promised.

        Like

    • I must say though, I was really damned happy with that last line =P

      A rare moment where I legit was really proud of my own work. I am so excited to get back into this, a month off was too long. I love writing about movies, mainly cos I want to make them, to write them. I’m already obsessed with photography. I can’t believe I went a whole month without a word!!!

      Time to catch up one everything – I’m gonna go see Once Upon a Time again tonight and then Midsommar tomorrow

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes that time off is just gonna happen, one way or another. Burn out is a part of writing I think. It is for me, anyway. I’ve really been struggling lately. Except I keep forcing myself to post at least ONE post a month, and it takes a lot out of me, which it shouldn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, totally know what you mean. I’m either writing reviews and short stories/working on my novel non-stop, or doing nothing at all re- writing. I agree it shouldn’t take it out of me to do what I love to do. Lately I’m trying to write every day, even if its ‘500 crappy words a day’ I think King once said, or another absurdly prolific author.

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha! No shit hey. I’m gonna steal that idea man. That will be the subtitle 😀 😀 Can you give me permission to use that? 😛

        Like

      • I couldn’t stop myself and stole it. I am honest tho, I don’t wanna use it if you feel like you’d use it in the future so I’ll change it if ya want bud

        take care

        Like

      • Yeah no problem. I thought that was just funny. Wouldn’t have used it myself

        Like

  3. Aww that’s too bad. I’m really looking forward to this. I’m not expecting it to be as good as part one, but as long as it’s close, I’m good.

    Like

    • I hope you liked It!! (see what I did there? Hehe I am HIGHLARIOUS!)
      I assume you have seen it by now. Its been a while since I looked at your blog now that I think of it (**opens up a new tab =])

      Like

    • its essentially the same type of thing, but longer and more ambitious sequences. And obviously they are adults, but that didn’t really make it much different. I hadn’t seen the first so I was expecting something semi-scary, this wasn’t even close!

      Like

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