Horror films can feel like you've run the gauntlet - with your heart beating out of your chest and your mind taking a beating - do you really need to be more scared? Yes, as it turns out. After an exhilarating ride watching Hobbs & Shaw in 4DX, I decided to give Cineworld 4DX another chance with It Chapter Two. I'd been reliably informed that 4DX is perfect for the horror genre, that it heightens the experience with an interactive, multisensory experience including advanced motion seating and wind, mist, fog, lighting and smell effects. I was very wary considering It is about a sewer-dwelling clown.
IT Chapter Two
It (2017) was a lot of fun. It was a lot like Stranger Things but with bullies being destroyed instead of the Demogorgon. It Chapter Two is immediately different in tone; all of the Losers have grown up and moved away and most interestingly, none of them remember the events in Derry in 1989 except for Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) who never left the town. When Mike discovers a particularly gruesome dismemberment following a homophobic attack in town, he learns that Pennywise is back and somehow convinces a bunch of grown adults, who remember nothing of the events of 1989, to return back to Derry.
The casting in IT Chapter Two is superb especially James Ransone, Bill Hader and Jay Ryan who play the adult Eddie Kaspbrak, Richie Tozier and Ben Hanscom. Of course Ben was going to grow up to be the heartthrob of Derry, he was already the best character! Despite their divergent paths in life, their core personalities remain and the chemistry between them all was still there, even that awkward not-quite-right vibe between Bill (James McAvoy) and Beverly (Jessica Chastain).
I didn't think Bill Skarsgård could get any more perfect as the entirely horrible Pennywise but he outdid himself in IT Chapter Two with a grotesque and very chilling performance. Look out for the Stephen King cameo in the film; it was very funny and provided some much-needed levity.
IT Chapter Two seemed to trip over itself with every phobia known to humankind and there was plenty of blood, gore, decapitated heads that sprout arms and legs, and the ever-present giant maw. I don't find Pennywise particularly scary in and of himself but there was an obvious coulrophobe sitting next to me who screamed her head off every time he came on screen (yes, it's a film about a clown and yes, she appeared hoarse by the end of the film).
The film was psychedelic in parts, with distorted, demon-like monsters with body parts that didn't quite work. It was very trippy and a lot of fun.
The one thing that IT Chapter Two didn't get quite right was the balance of identity violence to resolution. The film begins with a harrowing homophobic attack and there is also a shocking scene of domestic violence. Neither of these events is resolved in the film which makes their inclusion almost gratuitous. IT Chapter Two lacked the satisfying edge of seeing the bullies get punished, like they were in It, and even Henry Bowers (Teach Grant) gets off too lightly. I would have like to see the homophobic gang pay for their crimes but as in real life, those who need it most often don’t get what they deserve.
It Chapter Two in 4DX
I'm pleased to say that there were no sewerage odours in the auditorium although there was the faint scent of perfume which made one scene especially creepy. The moving seats definitely heighten jump scares, even when you know they're coming, and there was that ever-present sense of gloominess and fog. I still believe that 4DX isn't for every film but it can be a fun and different experience every now and again. It's also a good thing that you can switch the water off!
It Chapter Two was a lot of fun and despite my reservation about the unresolved violence, I give it an excellent four out of five stars. The next big screen horror film I'm looking forward to is Stephen King's Doctor Sleep.