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IT Chapter Two
牠 第二章

Opening Date
05 Sep 2019
M18 Coarse Language and Violence
169 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Horror, Thriller
Andy Muschietti
Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Bill Skarsgard
Twenty-seven years after the Losers Club defeated Pennywise, he has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once more.  Now adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, kids are disappearing again, so Mike, the only one of the group to remain in their hometown, calls the others home.  Damaged by the experiences of their past, they must each conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise once and for all...putting them directly in the path of the clown that has become deadlier than ever.
By Abel Teo  06 Sep 2019
This film concludes what is essentially a story of friendship forged so strongly at a young age due to very emotional trying events that never goes away.
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And so IT ended, in a somewhat bittersweet but tiring journey over the course of 169 minutes. Tiring not because it was an emotional roller coaster ride, but because of a rather lengthy exposition in the middle of the film that’s not bad in itself but just a little draining for this somewhat sleep-deprived reviewer.

The story picks up 27 years later from the first film (IT - 2017) where a series of horrors that befell Derry, Maine resurfaced. The first film introduced the young misfits who had formed The Losers club and had them defeat IT in an abandoned house without actually killing it (IT). They had vowed to come back and finish it off should that day ever come. That day came when the now professionally successful members all receive a call from Mike Hanlon, the only one of The Losers to stay behind the town, consumed by tracking it. While they had mysteriously forgotten what happened then, everything came back when they returned to the town. It has called out to them and now they have to fulfil their vows and finish it off.

Director Andy Muschietti’s treatment of this instalment is not unlike the first film in 2017. It is visually beautiful, even for the creepy and horrifying scenes, some of which are downright comical. Horror fans, especially the more matured ones, will be able to identify the many visual homages paid to classic horror films like Psycho, The Shining (also adapted from a Stephen King novel) and Nightmare on Elm Street. There’s also some self-deprecating in-joke referencing the author who makes an unexpected entrance in the film.

Alas, as a horror film, IT Chapter Two is more artsy and an ensemble study of the human condition than a horror scarefest, especially if you have come to expect the filmmakers to up the ante after the first film. There are some jump scares but they were not really effective as the audience are somewhat numb to most of those shown in the film. There’s also relatively less screen time for Bill Skarsgard’s titular character to creatively showcase itself. Towards the end, you almost pity the thing in spite of its detestable nature.

Kudos should still be given to the screen writers in trying to make the film stay true to the spirit of the voluminous tome from Stephen King while tackling the challenges on a visual medium within a significantly shorter story-telling time compared to the novel. The dialogue felt natural in today’s context without sounding out of place in the 1980s where the film is set. 'Stranger Things' fans will be familiar with by this by now.

Acting from the adult cast is decent but understandably lack the freshness of the child actors, whom have come across as very natural. It is in moments when the child actors come on screen that the magic of the first and this film lights up. James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader are three of the biggest names attached to this movie but they come across as competent with McAvoy and Chastain being unnecessary additions. We have seen them in more intense roles outside of this film and their casting didn’t really give us more insights to the adult Bill and Beverly. Bill Hader’s sensitive portrayal of the grown-up Richie, now stand-up comic adds dimensions to the character and his chemistry with James Ransone’s Eddie gives us some memorable moments from the film, more so than some of the better looking cast members. All in all, they work better in an ensemble and appears to play off each other better than if they were otherwise on their own here.

This film concludes what is essentially a story of friendship forged so strongly at a young age due to very emotional trying events that never goes away. It’s a 'Stand by Me’ film interpreted and reimagined via a supernatural and alien creature by Stephen King.  Many NS-men will relive those parallel moments during their active service, especially during their basic military training, and some fortunate enough to be able to have those buddies for life as a result.  This is basically the soul of this film.
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