IT Chapter Two is a 2019 horror film directed by Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama, The Flash, & Historias Breves 3). This is a direct sequel to 2017’s IT & a remake of the original 1990 miniseries. It was written & produced by Gary Dauberman (Swamp Thing, IT, The Nun, Annabelle franchise, & Are You Afraid of the Dark?). Jeffrey Jurgensen (Agent Cody Banks 1/2) & Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman) were both uncredited writers on this project. It’s based on the 1986 novel by master of horror Stephen King (Carrie, Creepshow, Christine. The Shining, Maximum Overdrive, Castle Rock, Doctor Sleep, Children of the Corn, Misery, Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Pet Sematary, The Stand, & Cujo). It was first developed in early 2016. It was produced by Marty P. Ewing (IT, The Haunting, Almost Famous, 300: Rise of an Empire, & The Accountant), David Katzenberg (IT, Child’s Play, Gremlins 3, & Beetlejuice 2), & Dave Neustadter (IT, Annabelle franchise, The Conjuring Universe, The Gallows, Final Destination 5, & A Nightmare on Elm Street). Actor Finn Wolfhard was filming Stranger Things Season 3 the same time as this. “Original Ben” Brandon Crane & IT Creator Stephen King both have cameos in this. The budget was $79 million & it grossed $470.5 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
In 2016, Don Hagarty (played by: Taylor Frey from Days of Our Lives) witnesses his boyfriend Adrian Mellon (played by: Xavier Dolan from Bad Times at the El Royale & Boy Erased) being murdered by Pennywise (played by: Bill Skarsgård from IT, Deadpool 2, Castle Rock, & Assassination Nation) after a gang of homophobic teenagers throw Adrian off a bridge while leaving a carnival in Derry. This convinces Mike Hanlon (played by: Isaiah Mustafa from Shadowhunters & Horrible Bosses) to call his childhood friends which include Bill Denbrough (played by: James McAvoy from the X-Men franchise, Atomic Blonde, Split / Glass, & Filth), Ben Hanscom (played by: Jay Ryan from Mary Kills People & Beauty and the Beast), Beverly Marsh (played by: Jessica Chastain from Dark Phoenix, Crimson Peak, Zero Dark Thirty, & Lawless), Richie Tozier (played by: Bill Hader from Saturday Night Live, Barry, Adventureland, & Superbad), Eddie Kaspbrak (played by: James Ransone from Oldboy, Sinister 1/2, & The Wire), & Stanley Uris (played by: Andy Bean from Swamp Thing & Power) back to Maine so they can honor the promise they made in 1989 to kill It if it came back.
While the others travel to Derry with only hazy memories & a sense of dread, Stan kills himself in the bath soon after getting the call. The Losers meet for dinner at a Chinese restaurant, where Mike refreshes their memories while they are tormented by hallucinations & learn of Stan’s death. Richie & Eddie decide to leave until Beverly tells the group her exposure to It’s Deadlights has her experience visions of their deaths should they leave town without fulfilling their promise. Henry Bowers (played by: Teach Grant from Damnation, Braven, Dead Rising: Endgame, & Leprechaun: Origins) escapes from a mental institution with help from Pennywise. All their bad memories when they were younger (played by: Jaeden Martell from Knives Out, Wyatt Oleff from Guardians of the Galaxy 1/2, Jeremy Ray Taylor from Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, Jack Dylan Grazer from Shazam!, Sophia Lillis from Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, & Chosen Jacobs from Castle Rock) start to come back one by one as they all go through their old hometown. Pennywise starts killing more kids so the group of misfits must come together to stop this evil force from terrorizing Derry once again. Can they do this with the insane Henry Bowers on their trail looking for revenge? or Will they all die where they were born????
I was actually very impressed with 2017’s IT & it was one of my personal favorite horror films of that year. So that made Chapter Two one of my most anticipated films but It has it’s history of the 2nd part being much weaker than it’s origin story. That goes for the book & the original 1990 miniseries, unfortunately the streak continues for not being able to live up to the beginning. It’s just too much to handle & it always ends up running out of gas before it finishes. I will say that the acting was much better here with this follow up. The adult cast was perfect compared to the younger versions. Bill Hader stole every scene that he was in & this was my favorite performance from him so far. He was hilarious & he knew exactly when to be serious when needed. Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy both elevated their characters, you can never go wrong with them. They are both consistently good in everything that they do. Bill Skarsgård continues to do his own version of the iconic horror villain & it’s so different that you don’t even compare to Tim Curry’s version. I’ve been impressed with Bill on his last few performances & other material that I’ve reviewed with him in it. He can get really dark when it comes to a role, he doesn’t have to put much effort into it either because it’s just natural for the actor. That’s rare these days. The rest of the supporting cast fit like a glove, they went for whoever captured the characters the best here. They didn’t care who was popular or known at the time for this production. The special & visual fx were very hit or miss in IT. I did enjoy the fact that they reminded me of the 80s because they so outrageous at times but they over-did it on more than a few occasions.
It took me away from the scenes & it became more of a distraction than anything. I thought the script was solid & I loved the humor it had in it. The chemistry between the leads was great. It was more faithful to the book compared to the original for some important scenes but it kinda dragged on which made the flow of the feature a little awkward. It still had it’s fair share of changes from the source material. It felt about 20 minutes too long, editing would have improved it by a mile. I probably over-hyped it too much myself & that’s why I ended up being disappointed by it. When I compare the complete version of original miniseries to both of these updated movies, I still prefer that old one over the newer material at the end of the day. Which is crazy considering these weren’t made for television so they are actually Rated R & they were more faithful to the original source material for certain things that were left out but I felt like the 90s adaption was a step above these remakes. I will say that I am glad that I went to revisit this for this 4K review because I wasn’t happy at all when I seen it on opening day in theaters. It’s one of those features you have to digest a little more than others. I ended up liking more but it still has some big flaws that hurt the overall experience. This really should have been one of the best horror movies of the year but it wouldn’t even make my top 5 at this point but it still had it’s moments & the cast was great here. I would love to see a complete version with both films combined as one someday but that would require Chapter Two needing some serious editing to pull it off. Don’t get me wrong, Chapter Two was definitely solid & better than most from 2019 but it didn’t live up to the type at all. It’s still worth checking out but you might want to watch it before buying it, CHECK IT OUT!!!!