Pennywise returns just in time for spooky season

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Vertigo Entertainment [Public Domain]

Pennywise has returned to the big screens for "It: Chapter 2."

Fiona Dawe, Staff Writer

Vertigo Entertainment

Two years ago, the Losers’ Club chased Pennywise back down into the sewers. He has finally returned to the big screen early this month in Stephen King’s “IT Chapter Two”–and with a vengeance. 

Mike Hanlon, played by Isaif Mustafa, was the only member of the Losers’ Club who stayed in Derry and, 27 years later, called the rest of the gang back after Pennywise wrote “Come Home” on a bridge, in blood. Hesitant to leave their very successful lives, the rest of the Losers’ Club arrives in Derry, with no memory of what happened that summer nearly three decades ago.

It is no secret that King is the King of Horror, and his reign is apparent in this film. Part of the reason that he is so effective at scaring people is that he creates realistic scenarios within his stories. While Pennywise is something that can be left behind in a book or movie, Beverly Marsh’s abusive father and husband, or Henry Bowers, the bully that terrorizes the Loser’s Club, cannot be left in a book. They are the extremes of people that we have to meet in everyday life. 

Immediately, the differences between the first and second movie were pretty apparent. To start with, it was gorier.  

The movie begins with the homophobic beating of a gay couple, in which one of them gets thrown off a bridge and eaten by the infamous clown, Pennywise. The most disturbing parts of the film usually involve the murder of children, following in the footsteps of the first movie that graphically depicted a child’s arm getting ripped off. 

This sequel is also scarier than the first. Something about seeing adults being terrorized is a lot freakier than watching kids getting chased by a clown. 

As the characters have gotten older, what scares them is different. Instead of being scared by mummies or lepers, they are frightened by things such as their old friend’s decapitated head, strange scorpion-like creatures with baby heads, or, in the case of Richie Tozier, his biggest secret getting out. These elements create a stranger and stranger atmosphere during the movie that wasn’t present in the first one. 

By leaning more into the science fiction side of the story, we learn more about where Pennywise came from and what he is . While this is informative, it seems to get blown over during the movie, and not thoroughly described. 

This movie had to match the looks and personality with not only one actor, but two. This was done excellently with Richie Tozier, who was played by Finn Wolfhard and Bill Hader, and Eddie Kaspbrack, played by Jack Dylan Grazer and James Ransone. Both of these characters had actors that looked very similar, and both sets of actors were incredibly consistent with the characters. Tozier and Kaspbrack did not lose their dynamic with the rest of the cast as the role was passed from actor to actor. However, Ben Hanscom as a child, played by Jeremy Ray Taylor, looked nothing like his adult version, played by Jay Ryan. While the older Ben was supposed to look very attractive and not like his younger self, I think that the change in hair and eye color was a little drastic. 

Overall, this was a great movie that was consistent with the first movie and nicely finished up the storyline. It delivered some unexpected heart-wrenching and funny scenes–sometimes both at once. Despite the moderately confusing storyline and a few minor plot holes, this was a great way to start off spooky season.