IT Chapter Two Scares But Fails to Wow

“Sometimes the memories that we want to escape, what we want to forget the most, makes us exactly who we are.” This quote encapsulates the main idea that the new installment of the famous Stephen King saga deals with. IT Chapter Two came out in theaters on September 6, 2019, frightening audiences with its terrifying villain and numerous jump scares.

The story continues 27 years after we left the child heroes in the first movie. When the main characters start receiving phone calls from their friend who stayed home, the characters’ reactions range from crashing a car, throwing up over a balcony, and taking one’s own life, all to illustrate how scared the protagonists are over the possibility of facing their dreaded childhood nemesis.

While watching the movie, it became clear that there are some things that the producers didn’t do a good job explaining.  One flaw happens after Mike, — the friend who stayed behind — explains the situation they are facing. This leads to some casual racism on the writers part, where they write in a scene that wasn’t in the book. It shows the adult friends ganging up on Mike, the token black character, for bringing them back to their hometown. In the book, Mike’s character is more developed, and has more dialogue than he had in the movie. When he does have something to say, it’s because he’s defending himself from his childhood friends accusing him of betrayal, and lying to them. Overall, the screenwriters portray him as more of a stereotype than Stephen King ever did in his book.

Another identity that the writers messed up in portraying is the coming out of Richie, the class clown of the friend group. Throughout the film, references are made to the fact that Richie may be a closeted gay man. From a flashback sequence where Richie experiences homophobia from a childhood crush, to his last scene where he carves his and his dead friend’s initials into a wooden heart, the opportunity for representation is effectively ignored. He never explicitly says “I’m gay,” another thing that differs from the book. The writers  also made a mistake in reducing the one female character to a damsel in distress. Beverly, played by Jessicah Chastain, differs completely from the way Stephen King wrote her. In the novel, she’s the one who saves herself as well as her friends from annihilation. She’s the one who stands up to their childhood bullies, and prevents her friends from going insane while down in the maze that is Pennywise’s lair. This aspect of her personality and story is glanced over in the movie, and not in a subtle way. The screenwriters place her in situations straight out of a Disney movie. One such example being her getting pulled underwater, and all her friends scrambling to save her, or in their minds, be her knight in shining armor.

The special effects combined perfectly with the dramatic timing and suspenseful music to create a rollercoaster ride of scares.

Out of all the adaptations that have been made of this famous horror novel, this movie was by far the scariest. In the 2017 version, there were some definite jump scares that had audiences running from the theatre. But, in some scenes, it was hard to take the clown seriously. However, in this version the special effects combined perfectly with the dramatic timing and suspenseful music to create a roller coaster ride of scares.

Although the movie had some considerable flaws, from its misrepresentation of the token black character, to the total omission of the book’s strong female presence and the obvious appearance of queerbaiting, IT Chapter Two is definitely a must-see for horror fans. It is one of those movies that will cause you to jump at the shadows for the next week. This is a memory you won’t want to escape and won’t be able to forget.

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