By: Ryan Farrell, Staff Writer
Last weekend, the long-awaited sequel to It (2017) debuted in theatres. After bringing in record numbers for the genre, the previous film set a new standard for modern horror.
It: Chapter 2 continues the story in an effective and captivating manner, which the cast only heightens. The adaptation explores aspects of the novel that the previous mini-series failed to portray. This results in a more developed story.
It: Chapter 2 picks up twenty-seven years after the first film. After Mike investigates a familiar pattern of murders, he discovers that Pennywise the Dancing Clown is still alive. Subsequent to this, he contacts the rest of the Loser’s Club so that their childhood promise can be fulfilled; kill Pennywise once and for all. They all reunite in Derry, Maine. However, Pennywise’s torment threatens to disband the group. The Loser’s Club must band together if they have any hope of defeating the ancient evil.
The tone is consistent with the previous film, which is its greatest strength. There is a good balance between the story and the scares, preventing either from saturation. The horror had good variation with jump scares just as prevalent as ever. While they can be effective, sometimes it felt overused. The jump scares in the second half of the film reuse the predictable formula: A looming threat lurks out of sight, the scene silences, and the inevitable bursts out in a surprising fashion. This is even less effective when most of these horrors are brought to life with CGI.
Pennywise is as entertaining as ever. Bill Skarsgard is able to portray both a cheerful clown and a Lovecraftian overlord, giving a unique villainous character range. His talents enforce the horror spectacle.
It: Chapter 2’s cast balances the horror and enhances the story. The adult versions of the Loser’s were cast impeccably. Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James Ransone especially encapsulate their child counterparts through both appearance and performance. The entire child cast also returns, further illustrating their similarities. The Loser’s all have great chemistry and their interactions are some of the highlights of the film. Most of the comedy is passable but it broke up the established tension in some sections. This effect mainly derives from Richie and Eddie, comedic relief characters from the previous film.
Overall, It: Chapter 2 will please those who enjoyed the 2017 film. It bears a lot of the previous film’s strengths and weaknesses, but as a result, the film is consistent. The dual cast’s charisma and talent is the highlight of the film. While the horror can be redundant, Pennywise is an incredibly unique character and the film takes advantage of his potential in new ways. It: Chapter 2 will certainly be a highlight of the Halloween season.