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‘It Chapter 2’ review:A clowning glory

Back again: Chapter 2 is a more-than-worthy follow-up.

Back again: Chapter 2 is a more-than-worthy follow-up.  

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It Chapter 2 is flawed, but still lives up to its predecessor with plenty of scares and humour

The last time we saw It, the extra-terrestrial monster was wounded by the Losers and forced back into the sewers of Derry to recuperate. Now 27 years later, the creature has emerged to feed on children again. Based on Stephen King’s lengthy horror novel of the same name, the sequel to the 2017 film is set almost three decades after the then group of tweenagers speared a dent in It’s scary armour.

Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), the only one to stay back in his hometown calls the rest of the club to fulfil the oath they made many years ago: to return and defeat It.

The focus on Chapter 1 was entirely on fear, its manifestations and the metaphor of personal horrors being far worse than any allegorical entities. It Chapter 2 is about overcoming those demons: supernatural ones as well as those hiding deep inside just waiting to surface.

It Chapter 2
  • Director: Andy Muschietti
  • Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård
  • Storyline: When It resurfaces 27 years later, the Losers must return to Derry to defeat the child-killing monster

Abusive spouses, Oedipus complexes, damning secrets and tormenting regrets don’t hold a candle to It’s pursuit for flesh, blood and revenge. In near-perfect continuation, director Andy Muschietti crafts a sequel that seamlessly follows up Chapter 1. As if the actors themselves have grown from their ordeal 27 years ago. The casting is itself a highlight of the film; with performers who could actually be the tweenagers’ future selves and this uncanny resemblance lasts longer than it ideally should.

In pushing a flavour of King’s own big screen adaptation of Stand By Me and that 80s-loving patina of Stranger Things, this sequel brilliantly drudges up fictional nostalgia.

As the film oscillates between blissful summer friendships and frightening It encounters, even the uninitiated will understand and enjoy Chapter 2. The film’s brand of horror, more on the nose than cerebral, jolts till the end. Bill Skarsgård as It is creepy as ever, completely embodying the menacing chills of a supernatural bloodthirsty clown. There are fortune cookies cracking open to reveal mini monsters. — including a bloody eyeball dragging behind a train of nerve cables; zombies eerily similar to Gollum from Lord of the Rings; a shark-toothed giant Paul Bunyan statue out for murder; goo and gunk galore; blood spurts; and so much more. Like its predecessor, the sequel also revels in humour most incongruent to its context. As a character strangles his zombie attacker, black slush projectile gushes accompanied by the Juice Newton number ‘Angel of the Morning’. But it’s motormouth Richie (Bill Hader) and Eddie’s (James Ransone) near-constant banter that completely enlivens Chapter 2.

Where Muschietti’s efforts do fall short, is in the length of the film. Stretched too long, he indulges himself plenty when it comes to each character’s personal exposition of an It encounter. Initially, the director’s tango with gore is deliciously delightful. After a point though, the scares become predictable, especially when we’re treated to both youngster and adult version of It meetings. A little into the second half of the film, it feels as if Muschietti remembered his time restrictions and clambers to squeeze in as much as possible. The oscillation of the film’s pace ends up slightly distracting from the viewing experience. The more outlandish concepts of King’s book don’t exactly translate well on screen.

Yet in spite of its faults, Chapter 2 is a more-than-worthy follow-up to its predecessor. These Losers had nothing to lose, but ended up winning anyway.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:59:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/it-chapter-2-reviewa-clowning-glory/article29359957.ece

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