FILM REVIEW: It Chapter Two

Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh in It Chapter Two
Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh in It Chapter Two

It's finally here!

Sorry if I'm a bit giddy ... but It's finally here!

The 2017 reboot of It, directed by Andres Muschetti, was a delight for me: a funny, spooky and wickedly-wonderful delight. And it seems everyone else agreed ... because 700 million dollars, believe me, is a high salary for a clown.

Regardless: two years have passed, and It Chaper Two is finally here. It is hotly-anticipated; It is wildly-ambitious; It is ludicrously-long; and It is also, unfortunately, an underwhelming disappointment.

As while Muschetti's follow-up - set 27 years later, as the Adult-Losers return home and attempt to kick that damn clown's ass once-and-for-all - retains the pitch-perfect style of its predecessor and once-again incorporates a hugely talented cast (including the likes of James McAvoy as Bill, Jessica Chastain as Beverley and Bill Hader as Ritchie, the latter of which steals the show as the comic relief) ... much of the horror fails to float.

The opening attack delivers on the unflinching brutality you'd expect while a later Hall-of-Mirrors sequence brings some tension to the table - but the entire second act of this film, which is a good 40-60 minutes long, is just a very episodic assortment of jump-scares and dodgy-looking CGI, with the charging naked old-woman being a personal favourite moment of "WTF".

Muschetti's impeccable direction and Checco Varese's hauntingly-delicate cinematography do help bring some much-needed glitter to this otherwise drab magic-show, but it isn't enough to make it spooky.

It certainly helps fuel the themes and character writing (via a series of seamlessly interwoven memories with the 2017 cast, which gives strength to the notion of overcoming childhood trauma) ... but honestly, I've been more scared of clowns after feeling sick from a McDonald's. And as I literally ate a McDonald's the day of watching ... I think that's very telling.

But ultimately: Chapter Two does work, just nowhere near as well as its predecessor does, and more-so as a comedy/character-drama than anything else.

Bill Skarsgard does do his damn best to breathe life into the spooky-spooks: gifting us with yet another terrifying, very-Georgie-esque, scene - one which is updated to the modern world (such-as how children are trained to NOT follow strangers-dressed-as-clowns into the darkness), but remains just as horrifying as before; sometimes even more so! And yes, I am aware such a thought is sacrilege - but if I'm willing to die on the hill that Jaws 3-D (the one before it became personal) is perfect (it ... just is?), then I suppose I can die here too.

But despite these select-few creepy-gems, Chapter Two is often at its best when there is little horror in it at all. Smaller scenes where the Losers are just chatting, or where characters develop, or where the cast actually get to do something other than scream and run away from (what I assume to be) a man in green-spandex: these are when Chapter Two shines.

And after letting it simmer for a while - I don't think, ultimately, that it was a fully satisfying end. It certainly floats - almost entirely down to the cast manually lifting it up - and is definitely worth seeing, if solely to see a clown get smacked around. But after the book, the mini series and now this: I think it's time to let this half of It rest, maybe for good.