Stephen King’s It: Chapter Two Review

David Vu

On September 6, 2019, the new Stephen King horror film “It Chapter Two” was  released in movie theaters around the world. The film is the direct sequel of the 2017 film “It,”  a movie about seven outcasts (dubbed the Losers Club) facing off the terrors of an evil shape-shifting clown named Pennywise. The ending moments of the first film, set after the Losers Club’s initial defeat of the clown, was the promise made by the Losers Club to return back to Derry if Pennywise came back to life. Now, in the second chapter, the adult Losers Club must return to their hometown of Derry to defeat the evil clown for a second time after it reemerges.

Directed by Argentinian director Andy Muschetti, the first movie was a huge success among critics and audiences alike, due to the brilliant acting throughout the cast (especially actor Bill Skarsgard in his role as the eponymous clown Pennywise) and the themes of loss of innocence as well as childhood trauma. Fans of the first film and the novel have been anticipating to see the Losers’ final showdown with Pennywise as well as a new set of scary and disturbing scenes in the second movie. I myself was intrigued to see how they will incorporate more aspects of the book that the director has promised. But did the movie live up to audience’s expectations? Well…

The critics seem to have mixed responses about it. Some critics have given the film solid ratings and reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie  a 66% for its cast and faithfulness to the book. Others have given it below-average ratings, such as Metacritic, with a 58% due to its long run-time and the “unimpressive” scares. Despite the mixed reactions from critics, it has been a box office success, with $ 91,000,000 made in the opening weekend alone. I personally enjoyed the movie myself, watching it on the day after it came out. While I also had some criticisms about the movie, I thought it was a really well-made horror film with interesting themes and incredible acting throughout.

Firstly, I want to praise the brilliant acting among the cast in the sequel. Not only did the adult Losers Club actors have a great resemblances to the younger cast, they were able to capture the mannerisms and personality traits of their characters perfectly, especially actor Bill Hader who plays adult Richie Tozier. The chemistry between the castmates is clearly evident throughout the movie,, particularly the great friendship between Bill Hader’s Richie and James Ransone’s Eddie– a noticeable gem of the movie. The younger cast of the previous movie was utilized in a very creative manner, appearing in flashback sequences to get more backstory of certain events in the past. And lets not forget the amazingly frightening performance of Bill Skarsgard playing Pennywise. He performs the role as brilliantly and as just as creepy as he did in the first film. His terrifying encounters with each of the Losers show just how great the actor can play a demonic evil clown.

The themes of childhood trauma is very noticeable throughout the film. During the movie, each of the Losers Club members has to confront their own personal pasts and demons to find a special token for a ritual to defeat Pennywise. They each had to visit certain places and remember traumatic moments from their childhood in order to retrieve their tokens. Another noticeable theme in the movie is bullying. The acts of bullying happens many times during the film, such as the homophobic opening scene and during some flashback scenes with a couple of the Losers. Even the final confrontation with Pennywise had incorporated some bullying elements in it.

For a two hour and fifty minute movie, it might seem like a very lengthy movie. However, it was necessary to have this length to convey the story and each character’s personal journey throughout the film. My main critique is that the first act of the movie seemed very rushed and choppy. The film’s first act was supposed to reintroduce us to our characters and how their lives have played out  after the 27 year jump shift. While it did show us how the loser’s lives are after the time shift, it only showed us a small portion that quickly bounced from one character to another. I know the directors wanted to get straight to the action in Derry, but they really should have fleshed out the Loser’s present lives and backstories before they went back to Derry.

The cinematography and CGI parts of the film were a really big plus of the film. The digital artists and camera operators showed their incredible during many scenes, both frightening and non-frightening. Even though the jumpscares were quick and a short-lived moment of fear, the CGI of Pennywise’s forms and scares were designed with incredible detail. Also, the de-aging technology applied the kids was were pretty good as well (you could hardly tell that they are grown up now, although their voices were a little bit deeper). Near the end of the film, the cinematography truly shined, giving us brilliant shots of the inner depths of Pennywise’s lair and some beautiful shots of the Barrens.

Overall, despite some pacing issues, I really enjoyed this film. I laughed, I cried, and I jumped out of my chair many times in the film. Compared to the first film, I would say I would rate this one a little higher. I would definitely recommend this film if you loved the first one and the novel. A good takeaway from the movie was this quote near the end:  “The thing about being a loser, you don’t have anything to lose. So, be true. Stand. Believe. And don’t ever forget, we’re losers and we always will be.”


Fun Facts:

  • Pennywise’s cycle happens every 27 years. The first film was released 27 years after the miniseries in the 1990s. This film was released of 9/6/2019. 9+6+2+0+1+9= 27.
  • The movie broke the record of having “the most blood in a single scene in a horror movie.” Actress Jessica Chastain, who plays the adult version of Beverly Marsh, has stated that there has been a total of “4,500 gallons” of fake blood has been used on set for this single scene.
  • The movie had a brilliant cameo of Stephen King himself!
  • Despite the film leaving out the cosmic elements from the elements (such as Maturin, the cosmic turtle), the movie did incorporate many moments from the novel that the first film had left out, such as the Smoke-Hole scene and the infamous Paul Bunyon statue scene.
  • James Mcavoy, who plays the adult version of Bill Denbourough, had injured himself during some of his fight scenes with Pennywise. He suffered a double thigh strain.
  • After the first film, the kid cast was asked what actors they wanted to play their adult parts: Jaeden Martell (Bill) said Christian Bale, Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben) said Chris Pratt, Finn Wolfhard (Richie) said Bill Hader, Sophia Lillis (Beverly) said Jessica Chastain, Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie) said Jake Gyllenhaal, Chosen Jacobs (Mike) said Chadwick Boseman, and Wyatt Oleff (Stan) said Joseph Gordan-Levitt. Only Wolfhard and Lillis’s choices made it into the cast.
  • Director Andy Muschetti had thoughts of combing both films into one giant supercut film, including some scenes that never ended up in either movies and some newly filmed scenes for the supercut.