It Chapter Two ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Bloated but thoroughly entertaining. Mind blowingly perfect casting for what is effectively a retelling of the first movie but with slight twists here and there, the repitition of the structure may be tiresome to some (I certainly noticed it but they were mostly creative enough to keep me engaged). 

The film is carried by a entourage of genuinely interesting, layered, believable characters who all feed in to the overarching message of the movie that tells us to not let our past trauma and grief hold us back and define who we are. Just about every performance is on point, aside from a totally unnecessary resurgence of the bully character from the first part who could easily have been cut from this for brevity’s sake. 

There are plenty of references stuffed into the movie, some hit, some very much miss (I could have done without the shining callout). 

This director has a tendency to go just a tad too far with unique horror concepts that are amazing at first, but go on slightly too long to hold the tension. Effectively any time the visual effects and “epicness” become more important than the story or revelance to the characters. The scares and atmosphere are best when they’re world building or exploring the inner conflict of the losers.

The presentation was pretty on point so even in repetitive scenes I was never bored. Very well thought out transitions, bizarre imagery and unsettling camera angles and movement keep you on your toes for the most part. The brutal nature of the violence vastly improves the plight of the characters because you never know who is truly safe, some moments are quite shocking because of the commitment to the victims. There was some really great sound design at points too which is obviously crucial to good horror, however the overuse of obnoxious strings continues to be a crutch for this genre. The visual effects and creature design were pretty stellar too if you’re a fan of that kind of thing.

It may be disappointing if you don’t find the characters interesting, but I thought the hook of a seemingly unkillable otherworldly being who feeds on fear was consistently fun to watch the protagonists learn to overcome. It’s basically a three hour movie of one of those scarecrow set-pieces from the Batman Arkham games. Dunno if I’ll ever watch it again though, torn between 3 or 3 1/2 stars but what fucking difference does it really make, eat my ass.