PENNYWISE the clown did not take IT lying down and he’s back for vengeance in this impeccably casted, ultra-gory, yet painfully long sequel to 2017’s smash.
Fans of the book will know the drill — we ended the first film with a ream of the book’s pages left in which it fast forwarded 27 years to find the Loser club separated by adulthood.
Some of them are successful, others in abusive relationships but all with one thing in common; they’ve blocked out the events in Derry.
All except for Mike, who never left town and has started to see a pattern in disappearances and grisly findings.
He comes to the conclusion that only a grease-painted monstrosity could be responsible and calls in the pact the gang made to each other — if IT ever came back, then so would they, which is clearly easier said than done.
Eventually though, they all convene back in their old haunt and have to face up to their past, overcome their differences and wipe the smile off that damned clown’s face once and for all.
This all happens while roughly a million sub-plots orbit the characters, occasionally prodding them into action.
We have some bogus sub-plot involving Native American artefacts and LSD-spiked water which could hold the key to IT’s origin — there’s the love triangle left hanging in the first film, and an ill-advised and utterly pointless one involving a nuthouse breakout and some zombies which does nothing for the plot or my bladder.
In essence this is a blockbuster horror based around roughly eight incredible set-pieces. You may have seen the teaser trailer involving Beverley visiting her father and finding an old woman living there instead. Even though I’d watched it many times, it still rattled me and there are plenty more where that came from.
King’s expert characterisation saves the show — you genuinely care for these people — each of which have a wonderfully weaved back story and motivation — gliding around each other like sticks on a river, regardless of whether it’s the 1989 kids or the award-winning grown-ups. That the studio managed to sign up people like Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader is testament to what a big deal this film is to them.
It’s no surprise that there are whispers of awards for Hader, as his adult Richie is phenomenal.
Is it any good? Well yes, mostly.
The aforementioned set-pieces are very good indeed (I jumped so hard at one point, snot shot out of my nose and nearly hit someone on the back of the head).
Its CGI feels original and complementary to the film and, for a hotly anticipated horror sequel, the right side of scary.
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There’s a big but, though — large swathes of the plot rely on cliche (each Loser having to find their own artefact to sacrifice in order to yada yada) and its reliance on the book falters in the last act.
IT felt dated and barely different to the first — and so, so, soooo long.
This is a film that ends about four times, none of them in a particularly satisfying fashion.
It Chapter Two (15) 170mins
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