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It: Chapter Two


Stars: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgard

Director: Andy Muschietti

The latest offering in Hollywood's beloved genre, the sequel, hits the screen at a gluteal-numbing 169 minutes to enable director Muschietti to complete his version of Stephen King's classic horror novel which ended in the 2017 prequel with the young members of the Losers' Club defeating supernatural killer clown Pennywise.

It's 27 years later and the now grown-up Losers' Club members have gone their separate ways - until once again people start disappearing in Pennywise's home down Derry, leaving the Losers' Club to reunite to once more dispose of the malign clown...

Muschietti and It screenwriter Gary Dauberman do everything that is required of them when the now grown-up Losers, summoned to Derry by resident Loser Mustafa, end up facing an onslaught of scary special effects ranging from a plateful of fortune cookies that comes horrifyingly alive as an assortment of diabolical monsters, to Pennywise at his most malign, cheerfully stealing the show from the mere mortals who hope to bring him down.

While Skarsgard, splendidly repellent as the killer clown, effortlessly steals the show, the adult Losers, led by McAvoy, do all that is required of them, managing to create credibly flawed human beings in settings marked by splendid state-of-the-art special effects.

The members of the original Losers' Club make their mark in well-integrated flashbacks even though, despite the considerable length, their characters and those of their adult selves owe rather more to efficient casting and competent acting than multi-layered scripting.

But, given that the dominant narrative is driven by startling special effects, the characterisations are perfectly in tune with the escalating horrorfilm storyline that works well enough, despite its epic length.

As Mel Brooks once said (admittedly in a totally different context), 'It's good to be the King'.

King turns up in front of the camera in a cameo as a shopkeeper, Peter Bogdanovich sensibly stays within his acting limits by playing a movie director while, for me at any rate, one of the most creepy moments came when Jack Nicholson briefly appeared hamming it up to the hilt once more, shouting 'Here's Johnny!!!!!', in an inserted clip from The Shining.

Horrorfilm fanatics and King-worshippers are well catered for - providing, that is, they don't drink too much before the show, thus potentially allowing their bladders to force them to miss a single moment.

As shockfilms go, it's value for money - while not destined to become a true genre classic.

Alan Frank

Canada/USA 2019. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
169 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 06 Sep 2019