IT: Chapter Two – USA, 2019 – reviews

IT: Chapter Two will be released by Warner Bros. in the USA on Digital on November 19th 2019 and on 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo (the one to get!), Blu-ray + DVD + Digital combo and Special Edition DVD on December 10th. Content options vary in other regions but they should be released around the same time.

Special features:

  • Audio commentary with director Andy Muschietti
  • Pennywise Lives Again!
  • This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun
  • Finding the Deadlights
  • The Summers of IT: Chapter One, You’ll Float Too
  • The Summers of IT: Chapter Two, IT Ends

Here’s our previous coverage of the movie with stacks of reviews:

IT: Chapter Two is a 2019 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama) from a screenplay Gary Dauberman (The Nun; Annabelle; Within; Wolves at the Door; et al), based on the novel by Stephen King. Seth Grahame-Smith and Barbara Muschietti produced.

Bill Skarsgård returns as Pennywise the clown, with Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak; Mama) as adult Beverly, Bill Hader (The Skeleton Twins) as Richie, James McAvoy as Bill, James Ransone (Sinister; Sinister 2) as Eddie, Isaiah Mustafa (Shadowrunner: The Mortal Instruments) as Mike Hanlon, Andy Bean (Allegiant) as Stanley, Jay Ryan (Mary Kills People) as the adult Ben Hanscom.

Plot:

Twenty-seven years later, the members of the Loser’s Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The group dynamics of the (very good) cast propel the film as each Losers Club member faces down his or her personal demons. (Chastain especially gives the material a lift.) Taking each storyline at a time, all accompanied by flashbacks, gives each character some depth, even as the crowded film — at nearly three-hours long — verges on turning into a clown car.” Jake Coyle, Associated Press

“The whole film is going damn near overboard, for better and worse. It’s easy to admire Muschietti’s film for its excess and imagination. It’s easy to watch and enjoy it as a fright flick. It’s just harder to connect with the adult versions of these characters than it should be, and it’s harder to take this story seriously than it was before.” William Bibbiani, Bloody Disgusting

” …each scene begins relatively innocently before exploding into a waking nightmare that preys on the worst fears and repressed memories of each of the Losers. All good stuff, but more often than not, director Muschietti and the first-rate special effects team deliver gross-out visuals in favor of truly chilling and tense psychological terror. I mean, the Losers have to deal with a lot of arachnid-inspired imagery.” Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“The devotion that Dauberman and Muschietti exhibit towards the Losers is palpable from start to finish, and despite some pitfalls in the film’s pacing, overall what they’ve managed to achieve with their collaborative efforts on IT Chapter Two is nothing short of monumental, and I think they’ve crafted something very special with these two films.” Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

“A psychologically merciless sequel, everything here is as it should be: deeper, scarier, funnier. Muschietti, in particular, has stepped up, skilfully guiding us through a rollicking funhouse. It is obscenely entertaining.” Alex Godfrey, Empire

” …even if Chapter One was example enough, there are no diminishing returns when it comes to shock value. Any time Pennywise feeds on life there is genuine sadness over the loss (the naivety and insecurities of his child victims contrasted with Bill Skarsgård’s master manipulator tendencies ensure it so), whether it’s a character we are attached to or someone newly introduced. ” Richard Kodjer, Flickering Myth

“The terror of Pennywise is best glimpsed fleetingly. See the clown too many times, and he becomes a familiar joke. But also letting the air out of things is Muschietti’s penchant for CGI scares, where practical effects would be far more effective. The movie’s many monstrosities – a crawling eyeball! a giant spider! an insect with the head of a human infant! – don’t inspire fear.” Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

” …Chapter Two seems to consist of an indefinite number of big, scary set pieces, featuring interchangeable snaggle-toothed creatures, or occasionally gigantic, fairground-sized monsters lurching grotesquely up out of nowhere. The scenes deliver reasonably efficient scares, but with the tension level repeatedly and disconcertingly reset afterwards to zero…” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Muschietti’s faithful adaptation, with all its creative and creepy set pieces, can’t justify that ass-numbing run time; especially not when the characters are just doing a lot of the same things they did in the first movie. They run into cobwebbed houses, stare down nightmarish visions and get tangled up with a clown that can morph into all kinds of silly, gigantic creatures. It’s all so easily forgettable.” Radheyan Simonpillai, Now Toronto

Chapter Two is darker than the first, Bill’s attempt to deal with the guilt of losing his little brother by saving another ending in a brutal bit of bloodshed. Yet there are really only a couple of scary jolts, too many scary CGI puppets repeating themselves, too many effects beholden to Carpenter’s The Thing. McAvoy feels miscast here, perhaps a first for the actor.  Chastain, Ransone and Hader do a great job updating their childhood counterparts…” Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“Maybe it’s just that an evil clown terrorizing kids is intrinsically scarier than one going after adults. Or maybe it’s that the filmmakers, apparently believing this themselves, put the majority of their focus on a series of digitally created monstrosities. Whatever the case, It: Chapter Two, though ultimately satisfying, doesn’t get at the deep-seated creeps its predecessor did.” Michael Gingold, Rue Morgue

IT: Chapter Two never really depicts the way dewy sentimentality can curdle into pain and regret or considers whether the other side of middle age offers a way of letting go of the past. Its monster only occasionally embodies the otherworldly fearfulness that leads the characters to speak of it in hushed tones. But at least Muschietti is trying for something epic and intimidating…” Keith Phipps, The Verge

” …when the filmmakers don’t force the story to fit into strict parameters and just let the story flow with these characters that we love, IT Chapter Two can be just as effective and emotional as the first film. For fans of the novel, you shouldn’t miss this because much of what we love about the book makes its way to the screen, even if it can’t completely hit every high point. IT Chapter Two is clunky, too long, and not as scary as it could have been, but when it hits, it really hits.” Alan Cerny, Vital Thrills

“Real trauma is given the same consideration as a literal funhouse of horrors, which cheapens what the characters and audience are put through.” Alan Silberman, Washington Post

“What stands out in It Chapter Two is not the clearly labored-over insect effects but that moment with Mrs Kersh and the scene of Pennywise as Beverly’s father — both reliant on actors rather than technical wizardry. The human eye can tell that there is not much in effects but effects themselves with a story like this about evil. But an actor like Gregson or Skarsgård can channel evil for us because they are human…” Dan Callahan, The Wrap

NB. Scroll further down past the trailers for YouTube reviews

The New Line Cinema production is obviously the sequel to the smash-hit horror movie IT (2017) which took a whopping $700,381,748 at the box office worldwide against a reported budget of $35 million.

Controversy:

As reported by 9news, some parents in Australia say that giant billboards of Pennywise’s face have been giving their young children nightmares.

It just totally freaks them out,” Brisbane mother Kellie told the Australian news outlet, speaking about her kids’ reaction to the billboards. Her daughter Piper added: “I get really scared because it’s hard to go to bed when you have a scary picture in your mind. Before I go to bed, I have to check the whole room. And when I finally go to bed I will wake up after a nightmare.”

Another mother also told 9news that her child is terrified by the imagery. “Some people do enjoy going to horror movies and that’s fine and that’s their choice, and I understand that but we’re not choosing to see this poster,” said Jane, who issued a complaint with Ad Standards. The latter body has confirmed that the ads don’t break any of their rules. [Source: Bloody Disgusting]

Production:

Filming on IT: Chapter 2 officially began on June 20 in Toronto with a release date of September 6, 2019.

Background:

IT: Chapter Two clocks in at a whopping 169 minutes.

“A movie is very different when you’re writing the script and you’re building a story compared to what the final product is,” director Andy Muschietti told Digital Spy and other press.

At the beginning, when you’re writing and building the beats of the story, everything that you put in there seems very essential to the story. However, when you have the movie finally edited and it’s 4 hours long, you realise that some of the events and some of the beats can be easily lifted but the essence of the story remains intact.

“You cannot deliver a 4-hour movie because people will start to feel uncomfortable – no matter what they see – but we ended up having a movie that is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and the pacing is very good. “Nobody who’s seen the movie has had any complaint.”

Cast and characters:

  • Jack Dylan Grazer … Young Eddie
  • James McAvoy … Bill Denbrough
  • Jessica Chastain … Beverly Marsh
  • Bill Skarsgård … Pennywise
  • Sophia Lillis … Young Beverly
  • Finn Wolfhard … Young Richie
  • Bill Hader … Richie Tozier
  • Jaeden Martell … Young Bill
  • Jay Ryan … Ben Hanscom
  • Kate Corbett … Dean’s Mom
  • Javier Botet
  • Xavier Dolan … Adrian Mellon
  • James Ransone … Eddie Kaspbrak
  • Owen Teague … Patrick Hockstetter
  • Jess Weixler … Audra Phillips
  • Jake Weary … John ‘Webby’ Garton
  • Nicholas Hamilton … Young Henry
  • Wyatt Oleff … Young Stanley
  • Isaiah Mustafa … Mike Hanlon
  • Jeremy Ray Taylor … Young Ben
  • Jackson Robert Scott … Georgie Denborough (rumored)
  • Teach Grant … Henry Bowers
  • Andy Bean … Stanley Uris
  • Chosen Jacobs … Young Mike
  • Stephen Bogaert … Mr. Marsh
  • Logan Thompson … Victor Criss
  • Taylor Frey … Don Hagarty
  • Ryan Kiera Armstrong … Victoria
  • Janet Porter … Richie’s Mother
  • Jake Sim … Belch Huggins
  • Amanda Zhou … Waitress
  • Kelly Van der Burg … Victoria’s Mom
  • Angela Thompson … Comedy Show Patron
  • Will Beinbrink … Tom Rogan
  • Ari Cohen … Rabbi Uris
  • Lyla Elliott … Dead Young Girl
  • Angelica Alejandro … Asian Waitress
  • Rob Ramsay … Meaner Nurse
  • Divan Meyer … Audience Member
  • Erik Junnola … Bully
  • Anthony Ulc … Joe The Butcher
  • Martavius Gayles … Paramedic
  • Connor Smith … Carny
  • Shannon Widdis … Cheerleader #1
  • John Connon … John Koontz
  • Elena Khan … Derry townsperson
  • Chris Jiggins … Paramedic

Image credits: Brooke Palmer / Warner Bros. Entertainment

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