BEIRUT: At the end of 2017's "IT," the game-changing motion picture adaptation of Stephen King's quintessential horror novel, the young members of the Losers' Club are sitting in the sunshine, days after their defeat of Pennywise in the sewers below.
They are the only ones in Derry truly aware of the pernicious evil that nearly annihilated the town, so they swear a blood oath to come back if their efforts to destroy the malevolent presence weren't successful. If, indeed, Pennywise ever returns... and 27 years late, he does.
Here begins the second chapter, or sequel to the first film.
The interesting structure of IT CHAPTER TWO is in the way that the two timelines - The Losers as adults and The Losers as kids - as the characters go back to their memories in order for each of them to retrieve something that will be very necessary in the battle to come.
In that sense, the film is very character-driven, almost to the point where it feels like it is a series of character vignettes woven into one film with a bigger arc.
This chapter delves deeper into the lives of not just the characters but the soul of Derry, the town where the kids grew up, and exposes the bigotry, hatred, the lack of empathy and how the townspeople are not even remotely aware of it.
Pennywise's influence, even during his slumber, has really taken hold of the town in ways the audience didn't get to see in the first film, and both screenwriter Gary Dauberman and director Andy Muscietti clearly did not hold back on visualizing that as powerfully as Stephen King, the author of the novel, did in his book.
The cast here is double in size due to the appearance of the adult and the kid versions of the same characters - and this makes for one great storytelling web.
Yet, even with a great ensemble that includes James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and Jessica Chastain, the standout continues to be Bill Skarsgard, who plays the titular character.
In the second chapter, Pennywise is more sophisticated, more cunning, perverse, and way more dangerous.
All the actors give it their all, emotionally, physically, and even mentally - delving deeper into the characters that audiences were introduced to in the first film who are now adults trying to remember their shrouded past and defeat this evil creature that has haunted them since.
What makes this film so visually attention-grabbing lies in the transitions, how the narrative moves from present to past and back to the present day. And this is part of Muschetti’s style, and it’s clear how much fun he was having because as a director he gets to choose when those jumps occur and execute them through images.
Whether it be CHAPTER ONE, or CHAPTER TWO, both films utilized all the resources given to them in such harmoniously terrifying ways in order to not only re-tell a story that has been within the minds of its fanbase for a very long time.
As critical as fans have been towards intellectual properties as of late, it seems that they are and have been satisfied with these two films, and the reason for that is quite clear.
With IT, Muschetti made a horror movie, while also putting the people, the kids, first.
In IT CHAPTER TWO, the interaction between the Losers as adults and their younger counterparts shows up in flashbacks, illuminating moments from the first chapter. In revisiting these moments, the audience gets to see a wider perspective from an adult point-of-view. Again, Muschetti is placing the characters front and center. As a result, this creates a high-stakes horror movie experience.
IT CHAPTER TWO is now playing across cinemas in Lebanon, including VOX Cinemas.
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