It (2017) and It Chapter Two (2019): Review

Due to the success of both Stephen King’s 1986 novel IT and the 1990 miniseries of the same name, it is no surprise that the 2017 adaptation grossed over $700 million worldwide and is therefore currently the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time.

Its sequel, It Chapter Two was released in early September, making it very likely that most Halloween costumes this year will revolve around Bill Skarsgård’s fabulous take on the horrifying clown Pennywise, who terrorises the streets of Derry every 27 years in search for children to devour. During this cycle, he crosses paths with the “Losers Club”, made up of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Mike (Chosen Jacobs), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and Beverly (Sophia Lillis).

After Pennywise eats his brother, Bill has a feeling that Georgie isn’t just missing and aims to find him, unlocking the secrets of Derry and Pennywise in the process. The Losers Club, even though they encounter many terrors in the process, defeat Pennywise for what they believe is forever.

As someone who has never read the 1,138 paged novel, I adore the film. Skarsgård’s acting alone is enough to captivate any viewer, with the subtle comedic elements and cultural references providing some relief to an otherwise very dark story. It’s no wonder that in just 2 years, the adaptation is a spooky-season classic and perfect to watch with your slippers on, Halloween treats and favourite hot chocolate at your sideI must admit, the first film is one that I find myself watching again and again, but the same cannot be said for It Chapter Two, which shows the remaining members of the Losers Club returning to Derry after 27 years in order to defeat Pennywise for good.

Although I hate to leave a bad review of a film that took years to make and was so anticipated all over the world, I must admit that I thought that this sequel was terrible. Going into it with such high levels of excitement made it disappointing to be greeted with a slightly ‘rushed’ feeling film that was almost trying to be funny, with too much forced comedy that made the audience forget the comedic elements of the first one. The more ‘Hollywood’ approach to the humour ruined any tension that was created, making the overall film feel way less like a horror than was expected.

However, there were many positive elements to the sequel. The casting of the Losers Club was brilliant, with Bill Hader standing out to critics because of his perfect portrayal of Richie. The opening scene gripped viewers instantly and set the tone for a freaky horror film released perfectly in time for Halloween. Most notably, it is revealed that Richie is gay, a twist that not only represented the LGBTQ+ community in a way that was realistic, but also allowed the viewers to experience what prejudice this community faced in the 1980’s. I have to give the directors props for that, as it was very well done.

To conclude this slightly long, rant-like review, I actually recommend the series to everyone that asks. It’s the perfect rainy-day film, especially if you are a horror fanatic that loves a bit of gore. So by all means, give it a go this Halloween, even if horrors are not your thing, it may surprise you!