“IT: Chapter Two” Reveals The Horror of Dealing With Trauma

Bill Hader, James McAvoy, James Ransone, Jay Ryan, Jessica Chastain, and Isaiah Mustafa in "It Chapter Two"

Pennywise is back! Only this time, he’s a horrifying alien and the Derry gang are all grown up.

The original feature took home $700.4 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. So did the sequel live up to the hype?

In some ways, yes, the sequel shaped up to be a thoroughly entertaining horror flick with plenty of jumpscares and drama.

What makes IT such a chilling novel is the trauma the children suffer in their home lives. The cinematic sequel is no different. Eddie has essentially married his mother, Richie still makes jokes to mask his feelings, Bill blames himself for his brother’s death, Ben still feels invisible, Stanley struggles with depression, Mike remains an outsider and Bev is dealing with another controlling and abusive relationship.

They may have forgotten their life in Derry, but they are still suffering the consequences of their trauma. Returning to Derry thus enables them to tackle their trauma directly so that recovery is possible.

The character drama is arguably the most gripping element of the sequel. In terms of the horror, much of the suspense is lost through trying to cram in too much in too little time.

Although the film is just shy of three hours, approaching the seven characters’ storylines individually means that the horror is broken up into multiple subplots. This doesn’t allow time for mystery to build-up and Pennywise’s constant presence removes some of the anticipation and terror that made the original movie so brilliant.

That said, IT: Chapter Two is thoroughly entertaining. The chemistry between the friends keeps us hooked and there are several heartwarming and hilarious moments. It is the comedic element that enables us to forgive the moments where the horror falls flat. Richie mocking Pennywise’s dance, for example, reminds us to consume the sequel with good humor.

Overall, the sequel certainly concludes the Derry gang’s storyline in a satisfying way. What it lacks in suspense, it makes up for in special effects and the final showdown is a visually exciting affair. Pennywise may have lost some of his fear factor, but the franchise remains a jump-scare-ridden horror classic.

Ultimately though, IT: Chapter Two is a story about returning to the source in order to recover from severe trauma. The trauma just happens to take on the corporeal form of a scary killer clown.