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"It Chapter Two" Closes The Book On A Clownish Horror Story

"It Chapter Two"
Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård

Since Summer’s season of horror has ended, Fall's anticipated shock surprises should have been around the corner all the way into Halloween.  Yet, “It Chapter Two” won so many fans this September, that it outsold other horror movies and is still stirring fans of the Losers Club, the kids featured as the survivors in the first “It.” Now they aren't kids anymore, and “It Chapter Two” delivers memorable scares as a terrific companion to the previous film.

While “It Chapter Two” offered enough moments of fright and shock to serve up the scares, there was more to my experience of the film. Enhanced by the roller coaster ride of the Regal’s 42nd Street E-Walk Cinema’s 4DX screening room, seeing this movie provided a perfect opportunity to try out a new style of motion picture-viewing. Using a technology owned and developed by a South Korea’s the CJ Group, 4DX, as their literature describes it, “allows a motion picture presentation to be augmented with environmental effects such as seat motion, wind, rain, lights, and scents along with the standard video and audio.”

Well, it did just that, almost stimulating even more terror thanks to a feeling of nearly falling out of my seat every few minutes. Both “Its” are directed by Andy Muschietti, written by Gary Dauberman and are based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel. Split into two sections 27 years apart from each other, the second is set in 2016, when evil Pennywise the Dancing Clown (again brilliantly rendered by actor Bill Skarsgård) returns to terrorize Derry, Maine. Now adults, the childhood friends who made up the Losers' Club — which defeated him those many years ago are forced back together. Gone their separate ways, they are still trying to recover from their first encounter. But when people start disappearing, Mike Hanlon calls the others back home to make one final stand because he believes he’s found a way to fully defeat this seemingly supernatural monster who feeds on human fears. Though damaged by their past, the united Losers must conquer their fears to destroy the shape-shifting Pennywise -- more powerful than ever — once and for all.

Starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean as the adult versions of the Losers' Club, it’s fun to see how they all compared to their childhood counterparts — played by Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff reprise their roles as the younger Losers. 

Once “It Chapter Two” runs through its plethora of terrifying scenes, audiences start to get a sense of where Pennywise came from and what it really is. Then the film shifts into being more of science fiction thriller. Though the movie offers an internal logic to Pennywise torturous antics, it offers more answers than necessary.  

But much like its predecessor, “It Chapter Two” garnered praise for the acting (particularly Hader, Skarsgård and Chastain) and faithfulness to King’s tome. Though more predictable shocks — at least compared to its predecessor — may have diminished the sequel a bit, it nonetheless make for perfectly horrific fare — whether viewed in that special screening space or not.

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