Director Andy Muschietti is back to finish what he started. It’s clear that he knows what he is doing with the camera. There is a deftness and confidence in some of his directing that is very fun to watch. The unique camera angles and placements and fun movements remind me of James Wan a bit, which is probably a good sign for a horror film.
When we last saw our group of losers they were going their separate ways, doing their best to cope with the events that unfolded. When we catch up with the adults it is obvious that the past has shaped who they are, but it seems that they did not remember what exactly has shaped them.
Adult Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) never left Derry and because of that, he never lost the memories of his childhood. Plagued by the possible return of Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgård) he stays at the ready, and when the time comes he calls his friends to come back to Derry, one last time, to finish what they started once and for all.
Once they are all back in Derry to confront their nightmare, the adult Losers club of Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) Richie Tozer (Bill Hader) Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), all need to find something that connects them to their past, this is where the film starts to slow down and the audience sets in, knowing that all the members are now going to get their own little meet and greet with Pennywise. The scares are often recycled from the previous film, relying heavily on jump scares. Not all of them fall flat, but enough to check your watch. The end brings together a culmination of the group embracing the past, getting a hold of their fear, recognizing that they have the power themselves to kill fear itself.
Lets talk about that cast now! The brightest spot for sure is the chemistry between these old friends. We did not need flashbacks to realize who they have embodied. Bill Hader absolutely shines here and shows depth that is exciting to see, and hopefully continue to watch for a while. While Hader and Ransone bring the levity, McAvoy and Chastain bring the dramatic weight into a cohesiveness that is palpable. A great cameo or two, including Xavier Dolan (Mommy) in the beginning round out this amazing cast.
What I find most interesting is the role of time and memory, looking back on a traumatic past and seeing the good through the lens of maturity. Whether it is a romance that never took off, or an abusive father that you somehow remember hugging and covering up in a blanket. What is it that’s inside us that longs for a past that is so broken that it stunts us from moving forward? Fear of change? Fear of growing up? The maturity that comes with age is born from our past, good or bad, and moving on is up to the person to put away the old life and embrace the future without fear.
When you have experienced trauma in your past you want to forget it, move on with your life and try to function like a normal adult. What if your past doesn’t want you to forget, what if the past that is slowly eating away at your soul actually wants to eat you?What would you do?
You throw up, wipe your face off and go kill a clown!