Defeated by members of the Losers’ Club, the evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine, once again. Now adults, the childhood friends have long since gone their separate ways. Damaged by scars from the past, the united Losers must conquer their deepest fears to destroy the shape-shifting Pennywise — now more powerful than ever.
TASHNEEM- In this much-anticipated sequel to Stephen King’s horror novel, IT, disappointment awaits in every creepy corner. Forget about your high expectations, director Andy Muschietti and writer Gary Dauberman fail to live up to the standard of Chapter I. But with a phenomenal cast to take over from the young Losers’ Club, what could go wrong? Easy, we expected horror and walked into a comedy.
The Losers’ Club reunites 27 years later after receiving a daunting call from their childhood friend, Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), the only brave soul who decided to remain in Derry and the only one to retain his memory of their childhood monster, IT. The call causes unsettling reactions to Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader)M, Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ranson) and Stanley Uris (Andy Bean). They barely have any memory of their past in Derry, but all similarly feel inexplicably apprehensive. From the moment the friends become reacquainted with each other and recollect their lost memories, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) starts tormenting them.
A scene that stands out would have to be when they reunite at the Chinese diner. Pennywise taunts them with fortune cookies that transform into hilarious looking tiny monsters. I could not stop laughing at this scene. Muschetti was trying too hard to instil fear with the grotesque-looking monsters AND failed miserably. The scene is humorous, as is the entire movie, because of exaggerated monsters and weird comical timing.
Throughout the film, Eddie (James Ranson) and Richie’s (Bill Hader) great chemistry and comical undertone, overshadow scenes that are supposed to evoke terror and fear. Scary scenes fall short because of witty banter, comedic one-liners and naturally funny actors. Muschietti underestimated the great talents of these two actors, especially Hader. What was supposed to be annoying and gratuitous humour in bone-chilling scenes, constantly turns out to be genuinely funny instead of eerie or creepy. This being said, they were by far my favourite duo and stole every scene they were in.
Forced outlandish imagery and unscary monsters aside, the well-chosen cast was the best thing about this film. The impressive cast all embodied very believable grown-up versions of the kids in Chapter 1. It goes without saying that Mcavoy can honestly do NO wrong. Even though two actors outshone the rest of the cast, Hader and Ranson, Mcavoy continued to convincingly take the lead by bearing that shame, anguish and guilt that Bill felt in Chapter I. The lead of a hero that was slightly changed in the film compared to the book and miniseries.
THE BOOK SOURCE
The changes in the film compared to the book are felt when it comes to the main themes. The Book Source and I had a discussion about the themes because I was confused about why it felt like something was missing. The Book Source mentioned that there wasn’t much focus on actual fear, where the characters’ vulnerabilities are brought into focus.
Muschetti made these modern and questionable adjustments that were too flimsy and outright superficial, missing the plot of the theme. These alterations make it hard to empathize with the characters and their vulnerabilities. I do think this is where the linear timeline fails the movie. Instead of the flashbacks showing us their feeling of regression, it just shows us an interaction each child had with Pennywise. This misses the plot of the theme, where Pennywise makes them feel like powerless kids again because that’s the real power he has over them.
There wasn’t a moment in the entire film where I was scared. A few jump-scares here and there, but that isn’t true fear. True fear bypasses our rational thoughts, triggers that primal instinct of danger and self-preservation and leaves us with a lingering uneasy feeling. And that’s what made Chapter 1 terrifying, we truly feared for the lives of the innocent children that took it upon themselves to rid their town of a monster. A monster that only they could see. IT made them feel unsafe and powerless. IT tainted them for life.
The disappointing sequel is entertaining but has more gags than gore, which defeats the purpose of the horror genre.
‘BEEP, BEEP. IT CHAPTER II. BEEP, BEEP.’ 6.5/10
Click on IT: CHAPTER I for the first films review with The Book Source!
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