It’s big, dumb Freudian fun

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER -

Un­like its pre­de­ces­sor, It: Chap­ter Two leaves NOTH­ING to the imag­i­na­tion. Where the first film an­nounced its malev­o­lent in­ten­tions with a droplet of wa­ter on a steamy, rainy day win­dow, this schlocky hor­ror se­quel lets rip with a bar­rage of vis­ual ef­fects pretty much from the open­ing credits.

When mem­bers of the Losers’ Club honour the pledge they made as kids, re­turn­ing to Derry in the wake of a hor­ren­dous hate crime, they ex­pe­ri­ence a group

hal­lu­ci­na­tion in a Chi­nese restau­rant at roughly the same time as the for­tune cook­ies ar­rive.

Slith­er­ing eye­balls, hu­man­headed spi­ders, ba­bies with bat wings … their long-dreaded but hotly an­tic­i­pated re­match with the evil clown Pen­ny­wise is like Dali on steroids. It’s as if the CGI de­part­ment has been fu­ri­ously en­gi­neer­ing sur­re­al­ist mu­ta­tions for ev­ery one of the in­ter­ven­ing 27 years.

Adding to the clas­sic, more-is-more ap­proach of this Hol­ly­wood block­buster is the con­sid­er­able bag­gage each char­ac­ter is lug­ging from their previous en­counter with the su­per­nat­u­ral preda­tor.

Bill Den­brough (James McAvoy), who led first at­tack against Pen­ny­wise in re­venge for his baby brother’s death, is now a suc­cess­ful au­thor who can’t quite nail the end­ings of his mys­tery nov­els, largely be­cause of his un­re­solved guilt.

Bev­erly Marsh (Jes­sica Chastain) is in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship with a jeal­ous, con­trol­ling hus­band — which makes sense, given her history with her fa­ther.

The adult Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) is hand­somely buff, but he’s still a fat boy on the in­side. And his feel­ings for Bev­erly are still un­re­quited.

Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) is a stand-up comic with a se­cret life.

Ger­mo­phobe and hypochon­driac Ed­die Kasp­brak (James Ran­sone) is in risk management and Stan­ley Uris (Andy Bean) is a suc­cess­ful ac­coun­tant.

Mike Han­lon (Isa­iah Mustafa) is the only mem­ber of the Losers’ Club who has stayed in Derry, hav­ing taken it upon him­self to mon­i­tor events.

When it’s time, he sum­mons the reluc­tant heroes back to their home town.

In or­der to van­quish the evil en­tity known as It, or Pen­ny­wise (played by Bill Skars­gard), each of the se­lec­tively am­ne­siac char­ac­ters must come to terms with key events from their past. Sel­dom has pop psy­chol­ogy been so slav­ishly applied.

It Chap­ter Two has enough flash­backs to trig­ger an epilep­tic fit, and not all of these se­quences ap­peared in the previous film.

Since each char­ac­ter’s showdown with Pen­ny­wise is given a sim­i­lar weight, the film’s run­ning time blows out to a whop­ping two hours and 49 min­utes.

But while the nar­ra­tive for this hor­ror film is un­nec­es­sar­ily bloated and Andy Muschi­etti drops the reins on the ac­tion at times, there are plenty of se­quences in which you will find yourself hold­ing your breath — and the vis­ual ef­fects de­part­ment has a ball.

Big, dumb, Freudian fun.

NOW SCREEN­ING

The Losers’ Club is reunited 27 years af­ter the events of the first It movie.

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