PACT: Isaiah Mustafa, Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Jay Ryan are the Losers Club in IT: Chapter 2.

IT: Chapter Two

  • Horror; Cert R16, contains graphic violence, offensive language and cruelty; 2hrs 49mins
  • Starring: Bill Skarsgard, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone and Andy Bean
  • Director: Andres Muschietti

OH, you thought they killed that damn Pennywise didn’t you?

IT: Chapter Two, the follow-up to the widely successful and oh-so scary IT (2017), transports us to Stephen King’s fictional town of Derry, where horror dwells in the sewers and innocence is a gang of kids riding their bikes to school.

A pact that was made 27 years ago by a group of school-kids self-proclaimed ‘The Losers’, is to be fulfilled as they vowed to return home if “IT” was to ever come back.

Well IT is back, and he’s taking more victims.

‘The Losers are all grown up in this second instalment, ditching the adventure book feel for a more grey-toned reality of grown up life, as they reunite for battle to fight the evil they thought they had once extinguished.

That evil manifests centre stage as Pennywise the dancing clown, a saccharine and psychotic caricature that feasts on the children of Derry and shapeshifts into your worst nightmare.

The parallels between the characters reminiscing-ruminating over their childhoods in the horror land that is their hometown, and the present-day adults navigating complex tasks that guide us to the crescendo of the film seem to drag on.

Although this is great character building, these scenes seem unnecessarily long. This is a horror film after all, not a masterpiece of modern-day cinema.

Perhaps this is where director Andres Muschietti and screenplay writer Gary Daubermann trip over their impossibly large shoes, piling too much meaning into this clown-car of a movie.

We almost crave a fright as we sit waiting for each character to stop justifying their adult behaviours with childhood trauma flashbacks.

This film, although long (three hours) and overwritten in some parts, does pack in a hefty amount of hair-raising jump scares and even a few laughs any clown would be chuffed with.

The clown in question is not Pennywise, no no, it is in fact comedian Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live fame.

Hader is a clear standout in the cast. His younger self, played by Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), already offered comic relief in the first film but the sarcasm on a well-trained comedic actor is just funnier this time around.

Be warned, this film does contain scenes that may disturb as there are themes of homophobia-fuelled violence, suicide and domestic abuse.

In playing the devil’s advocate here, however, I would be concerned if a horror film wasn’t pushing the boundaries of repugnance in some way, shape or form.

6/10

hazel.osborne@thebeacon.co.nz