All the Fun, Less Of The Terror

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Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Andy Bean in “It: Chapter Two”

IT: Chapter Two is a satisfying conclusion to the torment of Pennywise but it perhaps lacks some of the terror that made the first movie so successful.

The feature begins in the same feat as its predecessor. We are introduced to an LGBT+ couple who we quickly form an attachment to, only to see Pennywise devour one half of the couple. Mike then discovers the news and makes a phone call to each member of the loser gang to tell them they must return to Derry. Each individual reacts with terror but has no idea why they are so afraid. They have blocked out the trauma they endured as children and leaving Derry has blurred their memories.

The reintroduction and reunion of the core characters is well done and we very quickly form an affinity with the grown-up version of the gang. Learning that Bev has fallen into another abusive relationship following her father’s abuse is shocking and unpleasant. Although true to the books, this scene is perhaps a little too realistic for a horror that is meant to entertain.

The plot that follows is very formulaic and full of jump scares. There are some terrific monsters only much of the suspense that made the original feature so superb is lost. The feature is almost three hours long and there are points where one might find themselves apathetic to the monstrous Pennywise chasing the gang around in circles.

Where the film does succeed, however, is in concluding the stories of the losers without being corny. The ending satisfied, in a way that Bill’s stories did not, by offering us a happy ending. Each came to terms with their own trauma without making a grandiose confession to the rest of the group. For they each had to take their journey alone. Bill accepting that the death of his brother was not his fault is particularly moving, as is Eddie’s moment of bravery right before his death.

Furthermore, just like its predecessor, chapter two is funny. There are several laugh-out-loud moments and as adults, comic relief characters Richie and Eddie retain the charm they had as kids. In the places where IT: Chapter Two fails as a horror, it succeeds as a comedy. Equally, Ben’s enduring affection for Bev drives his subplot and is heartwarming to watch.

Overall, the sequel to the most successful horror film of the decade may have lacked the suspense and terror of the original but it did not fail to entertain. Perhaps if the feature were half an hour shorter, the audience would be less inclined to grow apathetic towards the string of monsters chasing the team round in circles. Then again, should cutting the feature short result in the absence of closure for any of the characters, it would not be worth the risk.

3.5/5

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