Is It: Chapter Two a fitting conclusion?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Pennywise the Clown terrorised the children of Derry, Maine in 2017's It - and he is back to terrorise the Losers' Club as adults in the horror sequel.
It: Chapter Two was released in cinemas this weekend. Does the second chapter deliver the scares, or is it just a joke?
Some critics believe It: Chapter Two is more successful than its predecessor, while others argue it is "bad and dumb".
The Week's Jeva Lange says that It: Chapter Two is a lot - but argues that it is "not necessarily a bad thing".
She argues that the sequel "succeeds even more than its 2017 predecessor" in embodying the Stephen King novel i a way that "both serves to delight old fans and bring new ones further into the fold".
Lange says that the biggest star of It: Chapter Two does not appear on the screen: it is casting director Rich Delia, who "deserves massive credit for assembling the ensemble cast of the year".
She writes: "Yes, It: Chapter Two certainly has too much going on. And yes, despite that, it is also somehow not enough — there is never enough space to give Henry the background he deserves, for example, or to explore the origin of evil story at the heart of the novel.
"But with ticket prices soaring, I for one wouldn't mind getting the biggest bang for my buck by spending three whole hours in Derry with the Losers."
Jezebel's Rich Juzwiak is highly critical of the horror sequel, calling it "bad and dumb".
He likens the film to being "taken for a ride by a driver who was wearing a blindfold".
Juzwiak argues: "This movie is so meandering, so stuffed with easily excisable scenes whose revelations wick off with the arrival of the next fit-for-the-cutting-room-floor vignette, it’s as though everyone made this all up as they went along."
The critic says that the stakes are low for the Losers' Club cast with the film combining both the child and adult versions of the characters - by virtue, you know they will survive. He adds: "Chapter Two just stands there, shuffling its clown shoes."
He concludes: "Like the red balloons that portend Pennywise’s presence, Muschietti [the director] and his movie are full of hot air."
It: Chapter Two follows the return of the seven Losers' Club members to Derry, Maine as adults - and the resurfacing of the evil entity, Pennywise the Clown, or It. The timelines shift back and forth between 1985 and the present day.
The official synopsis reads: "Because every 27 years, evil revisits the town of Derry, Maine, It Chapter Two brings the characters - who've long since gone their separate ways - back together as adults, nearly three decades after the events of the first film."
It is based on the 1986 novel by horror writer Stephen King. It is not the only adaptation of the novel - a TV miniseries was produced in 1990, starring Tim Curry as Pennywise. Bill Skarsgård took on the role in the 2017 film, and returns for the sequel.
The horror sequel is rated 65 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, the film review aggregation website. It also has an audience score of 81 per cent.
The critics consensus reads: "It: Chapter Two proves bigger doesn't always mean scarier for horror sequels, but a fine cast and faithful approach to the source material keep this follow-up afloat."
It: Chapter Two is in cinemas now.