Argentine Director Andy Muschietti roars back in this two-hour and 49 minute companion to his 2017 film “It.” We might call “It” the first half of the two-part opus. Muschietti made the 2017 film with a small $35 million budget, but fans flocked to theaters and the film grossed $700 million at the worldwide box office. “It Chapter Two” should have every bit as much success.
Writer Gary Dauberman penned the scary script as he did with the successful predecessor. He wrote both screenplays based on the huge success of the novel of the same name by horror maven Stephen King. Dauberman has a knack for writing scripts for scary movies that people want to see.
The story has the young people who encountered the clown Pennywise in the earlier film return to their childhood home of Derry Maine as adults after a spectacular murder. Director Muschietti and writer Dauberman load the film with plenty of comic moments and comments by the returning horror fighters. They called themselves the Losers Club as kids, a false notion to my mind. They might have been average kids but ones who sat at the less popular end of the lunch table.
Losers do not pit themselves against an other worldly shape-shifting monster. Heroes do that.
The most famous among the cast include Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. They served together recently in “Dark Phoenix.” McAvoy recently played multiple personalities in the harrowing “Split.” Bill Hader, a comic turned serious actor, plays one of the returning friends. Hader played on “Saturday Night Live” for eight seasons but has over 100 acting credits in roles ranging from comedy to very serious drama.
King has a cameo as a shop keeper. Famous director Peter Bogdanovich also has a cameo as a movie director. In real life, Bogdanovich directed such famous films as “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon.” Keep your eye out for the cameos.
Readers will want to know “Is it scary?” Oh yes. We get occasional jump scares as something horrible leaps at us from the dark. But King has had such success and such a lasting impact because he can bring to our minds deeply buried childhood psychic traumas. At various times he shows us an abusive father, the head of a dead child morphed into an eight-legged face with the fangs of a moray eel, nasty bullies, a murderous clown, rejection by a childhood crush, drowning in blood and submergence in quicksand. We suffer by turns fright, disgust and terror.
Some people like this sort of titillation. If you do, join the millions of others in watching “It-Chapter Two.”
“It Chapter Two” comes close to equaling “The Shining” as the most successful translation of a King book to the screen.
“It Chapter Two” has a hard R rating for terror and language. Andy Muschietti had some $79 million to make the film with, double his budget for “It.” It has already brought in $220 million in a single week in the theaters. The extra good horror film runs an extra long two hours and 49 minutes and rates four bloody saw blades.
I appreciated the homage to Jack Nicholson and Bruce Willis in two distinct references.