Andy Muschietti drags the Loser’s Club back to the town of Derry kicking and screaming.
During a time where we are seeing lots of remakes or “reboots” hitting our cinema screens, in 2017 Pennywise came back to haunt us in the first part of the remake of Stephen King’s ‘IT’. It’s fair to say that following on from the awesome Tim Curry, Bill Skarsgård had big clown shoes to fill. I don’t think I’m being controversial when I say that Bill did that, and then some! Not to take away from Tim Curry’s Pennywise, in my opinion he was the best thing about the original; but that’s another story.
So Pennywise has floated back to Derry 27 years later, as expected, and Mike Hanlon has called the Loser’s Club back to the town to make good on the promise they made to each other all those years ago.
‘IT Chapter Two’ certainly hits the screen packing a punch, the opening scene is not easy to watch and there are other scenes during the film that are uncomfortable, but our visit to Derry was never going to be an easy ride.
It’s difficult to talk about Chapter Two without referring to the first part, but special mention has to go to the younger cast, who once again fill their roles with humour and a skill that surpasses some adult performers in the industry at the moment. Another honourable mention must go to the casting team for bringing together the adult cast to fill the roles of the grown Losers. The casting is impeccable!
This part of the story is much more character driven than the first and may leave some thrill-seekers wanting for scares. That’s not to say that this film doesn’t have its share of scares, but they are served up in a more humorous way, at times.
We learn more about Bill and the gang and we find out about their individual experiences as kids in the town during a time when the group went their separate ways, before seeing Pennywise off the first time.
As I’ve already hinted, the film does have its comedic moments. If you read my previous blog posts you’ll know that I have a love/hate relationship with comedy in horror movies. It has to be done right and ‘IT Chapter Two’ strikes the right balance. Encounters faced by the grown up Beverly and Eddie have you cringing and laughing at the same time.
There are plenty of times where the film “tips a wink” at the audience and some great little references in there; if you know, you know! I also really liked Stephen King’s cameo, which was more weighty than I was expecting. It was little more hefty than Wes Craven mopping the floor in ‘Scream’ (which I still love that reference, by the way).
The book of ‘IT’ has been called “unfilmable” so anyone taking it on will have known that they had a challenge, particularly when the original mini-series is held dear by so many. I always found the end of the book “problematic”. It’s interesting that they make lots of references to the endings of Bill Denborough’s books being terrible. It’s like the filmmakers are saying, “look guys, we know the end of this is going to be bad, but go with us. Please”. And to be honest, I think they have done the best they can. I feel that, with the final scene, they have created something exciting and watchable. That’s not to say it’s not problematic itself, but, as I say, look what they had to work with.
The film then takes a sentimental dip at the end, but that’s really the only satisfying way to end a film that is essentially about friendship. And it’s a great message; Friends can help you to face your greatest fears.
So in summary, I don’t think you can view this as one film in isolation, much as I loved this specific chapter. This deserves to be considered as a body of work across two films, and in that “IT” succeeds. Andy Muschietti has created a fine saga that deserves to float to the top. I know that I will be rewatching both films for years to come.