To no one’s surprise, Pennywise didn’t die in a film called Chapter One, so here is the second half, that owes a lot to the Elm Street Franchise…….
Before I start this review, I have to put my point across that the IT remake is without doubt one of the most important horror movies of recent times. Not only did it do big at the box office, but it also proved that the bogeyman is still alive and well and with the right script, cast and director, cinemagoers will flock to watch.
Its success paved the way for Michael to return to Haddonfield and if it wasn’t for the never ending Legal issues, Jason would have risen by now from the depths of Crystal Lake, with only Freddy proving difficult as he was the only bogeyman not to wear a mask and Robert Englund is so synonymous in the role – just ask poor Jackie Earle Hayley.
So Pennywise, I thank you for bringing horror back to the fore.
But while Chapter 1 was heavily dipped in 80’s nostalgia and basically jumped on the Stranger Things bandwagon – they even cast one of the kids- to a great refreshing delight, the second part of the story somewhat left me cold. To the shock of my horror love, I didn’t care for it much!
Before you light your fire sticks and raise your pitchforks and chase me out of town, let me explain.
Its been 27 years since Pennywise was defeated and the Losers Club have now all grown up. The adult cast are perfectly cast with the likes of Jessica Chastain as Beverley, James McAvoy (Bill), Bill Hader (Richie), Isaiah Mustafa (Mike) James Ransone (Eddie), with Andy Bean particularly perfectly cast in the role of Stanley.
To the credit of them all, they really make the believable jump from the kids we fell in love with to them now as adults, making us care for what happens to them even though nearly three decades have passed since they were together.
The trouble with the film is not the casting but that of the script that really fails to add nothing new to way too long running time of three hours. Chapter 2 would have been a much better film if it was a quick return to Derry, where the horror and action was ramped up a notch. I am all for slow burn and story-telling but when a good forty minutes is going over scenes we have already seen in Chapter One, then it does become monotonous, to the point where your interest starts to dwindle.
While its great to see the kids back once more, having them face Pennywise one by one, really stretches our patience because, not only did we already see this, but how can there be dread and fear for an horror audience when we already know that they will survive whatever Pennywise throws at them.
Also the ghost of Freddy Kruger haunts every frame of this flick. Some set-pieces are so dream-like and dipped into the very blood of the Elm Street Franchise that you can not shake it off, even the ending is a somewhat carbon copy to Nancy heroics way back in the 80’s.
Its not all doom and gloom. Bill Skarsgard has created an iconic creature in Pennywise that once again matches Tim Curry’s brilliant performance and let’s be honest, this film improves the original film’s ending…100%.
Even the beginning has a massively dark opener that while its badly misguided with a hate crime, it also shows that the world sometimes lets the bad guys get away with it and the good guys suffer the most. The film to be fair is also littered with one or two great set-pieces-the young girl wandering from her mother is a great horror moment, that echoes the first film with a much grislier end!
But for all that, the film can not help but feel a let down, a padded out story that tries its hardest to have an emotional sting that does’t quite carry the necessary punch. Despite the best efforts of all involved, you never feel threatened or any bit scared and it much like feels like a grown up version of Dream Warriors, but at least back then you had a Freddy hitting his Prime Time Bitch!
Here you feel, Pennywise reached his pinnacle back in Chapter One, and for a second half that runs for nearly three hours long, its a hard struggle to get to the finale without a sign of relief, not because we have reached the Loser’s club journey, but having to take the repetitive walk its taking to get to…..It!………….