Adaptations of Stephen King’s novels have resulted in movies of highly variable quality over the years, in particular those based on his tales of supernatural horror. One of the better ones, though, It: Chapter Two, has leapt up the Netflix viewing charts this week after a massive spike in viewership.
It is the second-lengthiest of King’s books after the sprawling saga of The Stand, so the decision to tell the story as a duology worked out for the best, especially due to the main narrative being split across two points in time. The first part introduced us to the Losers Club, a sextet of outcast teens who each survived an encounter with the demonic Pennywise and banded together to defeat him, and now that the entity has resurfaced, they return to their hometown as adults to finish what they started 27 years previously.
The themes of being haunted by fears are played with just as effectively as the first time around, this time augmented by the notion of the terrors that stalk you as children never truly leaving you, only lurking beneath the surface until they’re afforded the opportunity to strike when you’re at your most vulnerable.
Aside from a disconnected scene only included to provide King with a self-indulgent cameo, there’s little featured in the near three-hour runtime that doesn’t serve the plot or characters in some way. The adaptation also excises a lot of the novel’s fat, such as subplots involving Bill’s actress wife and Bev’s abusive husband, as well as the incoherent nonsense about a cosmic turtle that vomited up the universe.
It: Chapter Two is a worthy screen translation of one of Stephen King’s most densely plotted books, and even though it’s essentially only half a story, it’s still a recommendable film in its own right.