After a first part that has risen to become the world’s biggest horror movie hit, Derry’s diabolical clown returns to make his own in a second chapter. Always worn by Andrés Muschietti, That: Chapter 2 resumes the history of the Club des Loosers 27 years after the first part in a resolutely more mature atmosphere. Except that after 27 years, and two and a half hours of film, it’s forgotten one thing, and not the least of which is scaring us.

The film adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling “It” quickly became the world’s most successful horror film. The story of the kids of Derry, adapted for the screen by Andrés Muschietti, was able to breathe new life into the writer’s original work while radically changing its substance. Exit the adult part to focus on the childhood of the Losers Club members, in a horrific atmosphere tinged with pop, closer to Goonies and Stranger Things than to Maniac. However, in view of its colossal success, and a story not quite finished, the little band was soon to meet again (27 years later, after all) to face the diabolical clown in the city of Derry once again. It is thus once adult that we find Bev, Bill, Richie, Eddie, Ben, Stan and Mike, played respectively by a five-star cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, James Ransome, Jay Ryan, Andy Bean and Isaiah Mustafa. After promising to meet when Pennywise returns at the end of the first installment, the facts lead them to meet in the small town of Maine, gathered around a certainty : “That” is back.

[review] a: Chapter 2 Langoisse is a

Appropriations: Warner Bros.

Distilling excellent first scenes, including the surprise appearance of a Xavier Dolan in great shape, the film begins by laying the groundwork fora colder and more adult world. A world where each character retains the stigma of traumatic childhood events even though they have no memory of them. It will be Mike, the only one left in Derry, who will rekindle the trauma in everyone over the phone, telling them the news and reminding them of their shared promise. This: Chapter 2 begins with to reassure us about the choice of actors to embody the adult versions of the Looser’s Club, as each one not only looks physically similar, but also adopts the same expressions as his counterpart in the first part. This resemblance seems obvious to us, perfectly orchestrated by incessant back-and-forth trips from childhood to the present as a reminder. However, if one could think that these flashbacks could have served to deepen the characters, it is not the case.

[review] a: Chapter 2 Langoisse is a

Appropriations: Warner Bros.

A Huge Nightmare Mess

After a long introduction, the film starts to get lost in , an avalanche of scenes, each one more horrible than the other, populated by nightmarish creatures with terrifying aesthetics. At this level, all the nightmare paraphernalia imagined by Stephen King is there, very present, yet the sauce does not take. If some of these scenes hit the bull’s eye, their quasi-systematic succession devoid of logical links ends up tiring, if not disgusting. The shudders quickly dissipate as the much too poor and repetitive narrative structure of narrativeis precisely identified. The fault lies with the cutting of Stephen King’s original book, which had opted for a narrative mixing childhood and adulthood? No doubt, so much one sometimes has the impression that this second chapter doesn’t tell much that wasn’t outlined in the first film. However, some moments of clarity with well found winks manage to give a glimmer of hope to the spectator, but the repetition of the hollow scenes, again and again, immediately takes over, leaving us breathless.

[review] a: Chapter 2 Langoisse is a

Appropriations: Warner Bros.

The finding is bitter: the film is both too long and too short. Too long by its excessive duration, and too short in its horror scenes that end up tiring without ever increasing the pressure, to the point of sheer boredom. A few scenes are successful, but we had already seen them in the trailers. This too rough editing also poses the problem of totally dissociating the characters from each other. The Loser’s Club is not really a club anymore as the characters are separated throughout the film to face their respective fears, except at the end where everyone suddenly finds himself in his right place in the gang.

As for Bill Skarsgård in the role of Pennywise, his excellent performance as an actor ends up being stifled by a heap of digital effects that make it impossible to discern hisexpressions. This second chapter could have been an opportunity to learn more about the character’s story, which is briefly touched upon when Pennywise is seen on an old newspaper clipping. However, apart from a scene in which we can (finally) see the actor barely touched by the special effects, and which we enjoy so much anguish, the moment is far too short to cause emotion. Finally, and this may be a bias, “It” remains “That”, this thing dehumanized to such an extent that it no longer even has a proper name. Rarely fair, often rude, sometimes vulgar, the character suffers from a cruel lack of realism, even more than in the first film. While Pennywise is desperate to kill the members of the Loser’s Club, he misses every time, sometimes leaving the characters to talk to each other for long minutes at a time, while he gets excited alone against rocks in the background.

[review] a: Chapter 2 Langoisse is a

Appropriations: Warner Bros.

But the most frustrating thing about it: Chapter 2 is that all the elements were there to create a relevant work. The problem is undoubtedly linked to an excessive length which makes us think that Andrés Muschietti did not manage to sort out to keep only the best, and was content to stick the scenes together until saturation. But there were some good ideas, such as these multiple winks to Stephen King himself, a simply excellent introductory scene in addition to being particularly well directed, or a really relevant casting, with a special mention for Richie’s character, played on screen by the amazing Bill Hader. In spite of its good sides, the sauce definitely doesn’t take, except perhaps for the spectators who would like to have a series of nightmares until the overdose. Sort of a horror best-off that has no place to go, really. To tell you the truth, the only fear you might still feel after seeing this: Chapter 2 would be a new sequel, especially since the director has recently indicated his desire to distil a long version renamed Supercut that would bring together the two feature films in addition to cut scenes for almost seven hours… That’s what anguish is all about.

 

 

 

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