'It Chapter Two' offers closure, falls short of previous effort

BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller "IT CHAPTER TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Photo: Warner Bros.){ }

It Chapter Two
3 out of 5 Stars
Andy Muschietti
Writers: Gary Dauberman, Stephen King (novel)
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader
Genre: Horror
Rated: R for disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout, pervasive language, and some crude sexual material.

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Twenty-seven years after Pennywise tormented the members of the Losers Club, the friends are brought back together to try and defeat the murderous clown for good.

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Review: I loved “It.” It wasn’t hard to relate to the Losers Club, I too was a teen growing up in the eighties and never quite fit into the popular societal norms. I wasn’t tormented by clowns, but there was a lot of truth in the writing and performances.

The second half of “It” is dominated by familiar characters in their older, adult form, but there are still plenty of flashbacks to keep the younger versions throughout the narrative.

The film begins with an act of violence that, unlike the rest of the film, is firmly grounded in real-world hate and serves as a reminder that there are horrors within contemporary culture that are as disturbing as a malevolent creature with a white-painted face.

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What follows is a hallucinatory experience set in a nightmare world where the line between real and illusion is blurred beyond recognition. The characters are sent down the rabbit hole of exploring repressed or otherwise forgotten memories. Somethings are hard to live with; it’s easier to just forget. Remembering is to reexperience the anxiety, fear and pain of being young and vulnerable.

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The film runs nearly three hours, but feels incomplete. The main story gets told, but there are details missing. The filmmakers apparently flirted with the idea of splitting this film into to movies. Doing so might have angered some audiences, but ultimately the story might have been better told. I’d be very interested in seeing what ended up on the cutting room floor. There has been talk of a “super cut” that would combine the first and the second films. Maybe they could work in additional material (assuming they shot the scenes).

The original cast is as charming as they were in the first film and their older selves are quite good. A lot of attention has been thrown at Bill Hader’s performance and there’s good reason for that. He’s the loudest and most brash of the group, but don’t sleep on the work that Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy are doing here.

“It Chapter Two” isn’t as good as its predecessor. It might not even be in the same league, but it does provide some needed closure for the characters. Not nearly the film I wanted, but recommended to those who started the journey. You’ll want to see it through to the end.