Darker, Scarier, Realer: Pennywise Returns

Laura Hennawi, Staff Writer

Two years after the renowned adaptation of Stephen King’s It, director Andy Muschietti returns with the highly anticipated, bone-chilling It: Chapter 2 on Sept. 6, 2019, focusing on the return of the frightening Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise 27 years after the children’s first encounter.

The atmosphere around It was horrific and terrorizing, yet it was nostalgic. When the six children weren’t being harassed by Pennywise, they were simply being what they were: kids. From Richie’s (Finn Wolfhard) snide humor to Eddie’s (Jack Dylan Grazer) germaphobia, these little details epitomized the coming-of-age story that made watching the characters get followed by Pennywise even more distressing.

It: Chapter 2, however, takes a darker turn–even darker than children chased by their worst fears. It exemplifies the realities and struggles of the world today that make it even scarier than the first movie. The first scene is of a young gay couple at the fair getting harassed by a group of men when one of the partners gets thrown into the river and killed. His partner, eager to return him, goes down to find him when he sees a clown with a deathly gaze straight at the camera carrying him out of the river. Pennywise then bites into the man and the camera pans to hundreds of red balloons floating into the sky, symbolizing Pennywise’s return to Derry.

The movie follows the “Losers” 27 years later; the kids are now adults, each with different occupations, but all out of Derry except Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa). Mike remains in Derry to uncover the story behind Pennywise, so upon his return, Mike reunites the group to defeat him, although they’re all reluctant to do so; Richie (Bill Hader) even tries to leave when he finds out about Mike’s plan.  However, they decide to stay and remember their experiences with Pennywise, which faded as the time and distance away from Derry took a toll.

What Muschietti does so incredibly in It: Chapter 2 is the casting. The second movie is supposed to be of the cherished children as adults, and what is so spectacular is how each adult embodies the child they’re playing as if they were made to play that role. Bill Hader, for example, portrays Finn Wolfhard’s character of Richie flawlessly from the witty humor to the careless nature. One scene shows a seamless fading transition from adult Eddie’s (James Ransone) face to younger Eddie’s (Jack Dylan Grazer) face, the two actors beautifully executing a physical and emotional emulation of the growth of Eddie’s character.

While It: Chapter 2 is a beautifully executed movie that is a must see—especially for fans of the previous movie—its plot was admittingly predictable. However, it’s a movie that takes the viewer on an emotional roller coaster: the highest highs and the lowest lows with all the elements of horror create a sort of emotional connection to the characters that is vital to the experience of the movie, and that’s what makes Muschietti such a genius in the direction he took with this highly recommended sequel.