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Yasmeen Mamdouh
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It: Chapter Two: Can It Measure Up?‎

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Successful sequels are rare, and even rarer in the horror genre, so can It: Chapter Two measure up to the audience’s expectations that were fueled by its predecessor’s major success?

It: Chapter Two picks up 27 years after its heroes had last fought (and supposedly defeated) the evil spirit clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), but when Pennywise comes back for more children from Derry, the gang has to go back. Even though the events of how they met and defeated Pennywise is barely memorable to them, the group has to go back and relive those memories in order to defeat Pennywise for good this time, but will the memories they wish remained forgotten help or harm?

The plot is somewhat messy, with the journey to the showdown with Pennywise having too many detours before reaching the final stop. The first act is promising, mostly to the point, and sets up a somewhat clear path to the film. The main issue comes when the group has to figure out how to get rid of Pennywise once and for all, as this part is unrealistic and confusing. Also, the setup of how each of the five characters goes on alone to start remembering the past is another issue, taking up most of the second act without even getting too deep with each character to evoke emotion, if that was the point. The third act has its good and bad, but, the giant spider with a clown head is not as scary as the film makes it out to be.

The overall horror tone of the feature is somewhat the same as its predecessor, with constant comic relief, whether through the horror mediums themselves, or Richie’s (Bill Hader) nonstop sarcastic joke-telling. The feature relies much more heavily on computer-generated imagery (CGI) than its predecessor, and less on silences and anticipation. The CGI is creative and on most occasions, scary, especially with jump scare setups and atmosphere.

For the acting, James McAvoy playing grown-up Bill does a great job with the stutter and with scenes involving his dead brother, Georgie, but other than that his performance is mediocre compared to what audiences have previously seen from him. Jessica Chastain’s performance as Beverly had no particular standouts and seemed to take away from the character’s young version played by Jess Weixler. Bill Hader is the film’s saving grace – not only because of his lines, but his performance seemed so spontaneous and natural. Bill Skarsgard’s performance was as evil as ever, with his eyes giving audiences the creeps.

If you were a fan of the first It film, then you will probably want to see It: Chapter Two in order to get some closure, and you will get it, even if it takes almost three hours to get there.

Like This? Try

It (1990), It I (2017), Ready or Not I (2019)

360 Tip

Jessica Chastain and Jess Weixler, who play the female leads, are real-life best friends.

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