This and then Joker coming out in October…WB really bringing in the clowns.
DIRECTED BY – ANDY MUSCHIETTI
Cast- James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Bill Skarsgard, Stephen King himself in a cool cameo and others
Writer – Gary Dauberman
Very rarely do I mention the writer at the start of my review. But I feel it’s earned here. The first IT was quite frankly one of the better modern horror movies in the line of Conjuring, Sinister etc. Being based on an iconic Stephen King novel, it was not just about the supernatural horror but also about the characters that are affected by that horror. The children acted well, the movie was well directed with some goofy but some genuinely scary scenes and if you grew up in a small town, you could completely relate to your childhood. See, Stranger Things the beloved supernatural Netflix series takes its inspiration from many King novels, IT being one of them. To have chapter one conclude on a satisfying but promising note that IT may come back 27 years later, was a good feeling to leave the theatre with.
But things fall, things on earth and what falls is...fallen. The first one was co-written by three writers- Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman. While there isn’t much on the net about Chase Palmer but Cary Fukunaga is the director and writer of True Detective season 1 on HBO for which he won an Emmy. He also wrote and directed the acclaimed drama Beasts of No Nation. Oh and he is also directing the next Bond film- No time to die. As for Gary Dauberman his writing credits include fantastic movies like Annabelle, Annabelle creation, The Nun etc. His only good writing credit may be the Swamp Thing series (which I haven’t seen because WB/DC are motherfuckers who don’t give a shit about having their own app available outside the US). Fukunaga was also slated to direct the Chapter one but left due to creative differences where Muschietti took up and brought Dauberman. Now I don’t pretend to have any experience with movie making to know what parts of Chapter one were whose script but I do know enough about writing to know the stark difference between Chapter one and two.
While Chapter one has a more concise story, better flow and less goofy horror. Chapter 2 is just odd. It’s very badly paced, lacks any flow that leads us to a climactic battle but has some good bits of human drama and some decent horror scenes. I am not saying Dauberman is a bad writer, but this movie is badly written compared to its predecessor and even compared to Dauberman’s other work which were functional if not bad horror movies.
The casting is fantastic though and all the adults look perfect progression of their childhood characters physically and otherwise. I have always been a fan of James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain’s acting and both do expectedly well here. McAvoy especially carries the emotional weight of the movie I feel since his character is the one endowed charged with it. Also, I just love characters who are vulnerable but not stupid in horror movie situations and still have their common sense around. Special mention must be made of James Ransone and Jay Ryan. Ransone portrays the adult version of Eddie (who was portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer as a kid). He looks and acts exactly the way an adult Eddie would act. Also Jay Ryan portraying the fat, silent kid in school who turned into a hot successful architect is just beyond perfect Bill Hader also acts well but comes across as childish or too marvel-esque (Marvel-esque means a character who cracks jokes for no apparent reason because that’s what 90% of MCU characters do) at times. The casting and the acting is so good that even without the flashbacks you can actually relate the adult versions with their kid ones. Bill Skarsgard is perfect as Pennywise the clown and his mere laugh and presence is more terrifying than anything the increased VFX budget for the sequel can offer. The rest of the cast do really well and their chemistry with each other is the highlight of the movie for me.
Somewhere you do get the idea where the movie was going in a sense that instead of just a general thrill ride, the movie is trying to delve into fears which haunts us all while growing up. The fear of leaving a town, the fear of life repeating itself, crippling adult depression, fear of coming to terms with our innermost demons, fear of how childhood was still a simpler time even if you were faced by a demonic entity in the form of a clown, fear of letting go of nostalgia. But somewhere all that is set aside for playing “You are my angel, my darling angel” while a zombie corpse vomits on someone. (seriously what the fuck was that? when was that set up? When did it suddenly turn into Deadpool or Shaun of the dead? and mind you Shaun of the dead has better horror scenes than this one) What scenes could have been the scares 'n' thrill ride also come out as goofy at times. Maybe its corporate instructions from a studio which just doesn’t know how to make tonally consistent successful franchises and after two financial disappointments (Godzila KoTM and Detective Pikachu) is desperate for success. Or maybe it’s just bad writing.
Also about the scary scenes, maybe I am sterile to horror movies by now but my wife who DOES NOT like watching horror movies at all, could comfortably sit through most of the stuff. There were hardly a few scenes where the tension was built up. The scenes were more gross than scary. One thing however that was well done was how the flashbacks were integrated within the overall narrative. It was done very efficiently, sadly that efficiency of pace is not carried out into the remaining story.
I was kinda disappointed by this to be honest. I didn’t go in expecting a great horror movie because knowing what I know about the novel, I was expecting more of a supernatural/fantasy thriller more like Harry Potter or Stranger Things. It’s weird how something that pays homage is doing better than the original. I wanted the Lovecraftian angle of IT’s true identity explored and while they do touch upon that, I feel the mysticism angle could’ve been played better. The movie also ends like 3 to 4 times giving me a feeling as though the writer and director were confused where to finally end and they put in everything. The movie has its moments and isn’t a complete disaster and you have to watch it if you liked the first one. But tonally speaking the difference between the first and the second one is similar to what was between Dawn of Justice and Justice League. While the first one may was a complete movie with a better flow and proper build up and earned climax. The second one was just –meh. I mean Chapter two isn’t a complete shit-show like Josstice League but in terms of being more disappointing than the first one they are close. Until I saw this movie I was happy that Andy Muschietti was slated to direct the much awaited solo Flash movie. Now am slightly worried. He needs to be given a better writer because Chapter 1 was remarkably better than this.
I watched Chapter 1 with my wife the other day in preparation for this one and found out that I could still watch it again. Sadly Chapter 2 is only –Worth Watching Once.
- Harley Quinn is back bitches!! And the faux IT trailer turning into a Birds of Prey teaser genuinely surprised some of the audience who hadn’t already seen the leaked version online.
- Doctor Sleep trailer (sequel to the Shining) looks really interesting.
- Also now we wait for the really scary clown to arrive. Joker in theatres October 4th!!!