Twenty-seven years after the end of IT and the group of misfits kids, the Losers Club, have grown into adulthood. Bill (James McAvoy), Beverly (Jessica Chastain), Richie (Bill Hader), Ben (Jay Ryan), Eddie (James Ransone), Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) and Stanley (Andy Bean) have moved on, drifting apart after leaving the town and events of Derry far behind them. On the surface, the gown-up gang all seem to be making more-or-less of success out of their lives; yet, their memories of what happened back in 1988 are only lying dormant, just as Pennywise — the shapeshifting, monstrous clown who has been terrorising the townsfolk of Derry for generations — was also lying dormant, waiting for his big come back.
When townsfolk start disappearing and dismembered corpses start popping up around town, Mike (who was the only one of the gang to remain in Derry) decides that it is finally time to call his friends back home — and end this f**ing clowns reign of terror, once and for all.
In this final, climactic chapter, the Losers are forced to come together and once again fight the literal stuff of their own nightmares. We learn more about the characters, who are fleshed with detail, including additional scenes of the children’s encounters with IT that were not in the first movie. We also learn where IT came from and delve into the mythology from Stephen King’s universe.
IT Chapter Two offers up some decent scares with plenty of grotesque, nightmare-inducing moments and yet, the horror is nicely counteracted with humour and banter between very relatable, genuinely-likeable characters. Each of them has their own personal demons to face: sadness, secrets, unrequited feelings. Even despite the deranged clown, the true monsters in this film are the bullies, wife-beaters and homophobes — the movie subtly reminding us that monsters live among us, even in idyllic small-towns; out in the open; no shape-shifting required.
The casting for the adult versions of the kids from the first film was very well done, but the standout performers were Chastain, Hader and also Ransone as Eddie, whose resemblance to his younger counterpart, Jack Dylan Grazer, is incredible. Then there is Bill Skarsgård who is clearly the Curry or Defoe of his generation!
Director Andy Muschietti did an excellent job of bringing the two chapters of this story together and recapping the first film to jog the audience’s memory, without inducing boredom. For a film that clocks in at nearly three hours, it might have easily felt too long, but it didn’t. There was a great balance of plot, characterisation, action — and zero filler.
IT Chapter Two is in cinemas now.