The wait was finally over for IT Chapter 2. I bought my tickets for the late Thursday premiere just like I did 2 years ago, at the same tiny theater by my house knowing Oktoberfest would be on tap to take the edge off. If you’re already afraid of killer clowns, any movie where they appear is going to be fright-inducing whether it’s a good movie or not. I am one of those people. If you want to know the origin story of my mild coulrophobia, feel free to check my review on IT Chapter 1.
I must admit I am obsessed with this new version of Pennywise in a love/hate way. I like the exaggerated look of him before he even speaks or smiles which is a whole other thing that terrifies me. There are plenty of clown movies all trying to capitalize on what Tim Curry did almost 30 years ago and both IT Chapters have at least brought some added fun for me where there otherwise would only be impending doom. Because IT Chapter 1, as of right now, is the highest grossing R-rated horror movie of all time, I just expected Chapter 2 to have what all blockbuster movies have: a loaded A-list cast, a bunch of CGI and a plot you just have to ride with to make it all work in the end. I was not surprised when all these things happened. We are talking about the Marvel/DC superhero movie of Horror here. I’d love more practical effects, but this movie wasn’t only for horror fans. The appeal and the point was to make non-horror fans come see it too. And they did. Just another necessary evil to keep making horror movies bankable. I also realize I read the book a long time ago so I don’t have quite as deep of an emotional attachment to the original story as far as a vivid expectation of how it should all play out. I was just excited to be there. I also like enjoying things.
The casting was excellent, almost to a creepy degree. Every adult version of the Losers Club kids grew up into exactly how you’d expect them to look 27 years later. The hovering enigma in the room is each of their specific traumas as children and what most unites them. I appreciated the time given to depict each of their traumas individually, from character to character, and to watch as they overcame them on their own, earning different relics to show for it. The way harrowing experiences can follow us into adulthood makes the Losers lucky in that they can all relate to each other in the end, as different as they are.
Now let’s talk about Pennywise. The main event! I’m going to be honest, I wished there was more of him! And I wished there was more of Pennywise from the origin days where we get to see him just as he turns into the monster we know now. That closeup of him in streaky, white face paint, scratching blood down his face and screaming like a guttural gremlin is literally everything. I wanted more of that rawness. That darkness under the surface, rising up. Bill Skarsgard had the same effect on me in that moment without the full costume and makeup as he did all made up. That is really something. But the standout for me wasn’t the gigantic Godzilla-like clown-spider boss fight but the unhinged jaw-snapping kills. Chapter 2 felt more like a straight up slasher film in places which evened out the already loaded back story and trauma of the main characters. For me, it really worked.
My final thought is I wish there were more scenes at the haunted funhouse and carnival because that Lost Boys vibe is infectious, the same way it was in Jordan Peele’s, Us. If I had to choose, Chapter 1 wins out for me even though I still think Chapter 2 is a blast in theaters. I can’t wait until it comes out on Blu-ray so I can watch both chapters as a double feature. Also note: I did not float.