It Chapter Two (Subtitled) (15)



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Horror (2019)
169mins US

Starring: James McAvoy, Jay Ryan, Jessica Chastain, Bill Skarsgard, Bill Hader, James Ransone
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writer(s): Gary Dauberman
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Twenty-seven years have passed years since the sweltering summer of 1989 in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, when teenage members of the Losers Club - Ben Hanscom, Beverly Marsh, Bill Denbrough, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, Richie Tozier and Stanley Uris - banded together to defeat Pennywise the clown. Hellish history begins to repeat and Mike, who still lives in Derry, issues a distress call to other members of the Losers Club to honour their vow.

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LondonNet Film Review
It: Chapter Two (15)

In an early scene of director Andy Muschietti's over-long return to the highest-grossing horror film of all time, an emotionally crippled character - a novelist turned screenwriter - becomes the butt of a running joke about his inability to write a satisfying ending. Stephen King, who cameos in the sequel as the proprietor of a musty antiques store, weathered similar criticism for the resolution to his 1986 book, It. Screenwriter Gary Dauberman doesn't stray far from the well-trodden path of the source text and condemns It Chapter Two to a fantastical final flourish that will come as a relief to audiences who have slogged through more than two-and-a-half hours of on-screen calamity...

It: Chapter Two. Caption: Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in It Chapter Two, directed by Andy Muschietti. Copyright: 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.The opening sequence - a brutal and unflinching hate crime - is the stuff of modern-day nightmares and sends a shudder of fear down the spine that ripples deliciously as grown-up incarnations of the characters are drawn back to the fictional town of Derry in Maine. Sins of the past echo cruelly in the present for one victim of domestic violence and a diabolical predator preys on a little girl's insecurities about her looks with scalpel-like precision. Once the reluctant heroes divide to conquer their fears, tension dissipates and the running time becomes a genuine test of endurance despite sterling performances from a teary-eyed Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.

It has been 27 years since the sweltering summer of 1989 when teenage members of the Losers Club - Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) and Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff) - banded together to defeat Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgard). "If it isn't dead, if it comes back, we come back too," declares Bill to the rest of the gang, slicing a shard of broken glass into each of their palms to seal a blood oath. Hellish history repeats in 2016 and Mike (now played by Isaiah Mustafa), who has remained in Derry as the town's librarian, summons other members of the Losers Club to revisit their darkest nightmare. Ben (Jay Ryan), Beverly (Chastain), Bill (McAvoy), Eddie (James Ransone), Richie (Bill Hader) and Stanley (Andy Bean) take his call, their memories of the past wiped in the intervening years. It doesn't take long for Pennywise to draw succour from the group's mounting dread.

Punctuated by myriad flashbacks, It Chapter Two could comfortably excise 30 minutes of dramatic fat to quicken the pace of a sluggish second act. The shock value of the sequel's nerve-jangling centrepiece - Beverly's visit to her childhood home - is dulled by its prominent inclusion in a teaser trailer. Skarsgard's rictus grin still unsettles and there is no denying the queasy relevance of King's narrative, which warns against mob mentality in a society riven by scare-mongering and intolerance. Any residual coulrophobia - fear of clowns - is comfortably cured, however, in between nervous glances at watches and perhaps a stifled yawn.

- Sam Cannon

It: Chapter Two. Caption: Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh, James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon and Jay Ryan as Ben Hascomb in It Chapter Two, directed by Andy Muschietti. Photo: Brooke Palmer. Copyright: 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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