WARNING: This Movie May Have Kids, But Is Far From Family-Friendly
NOTE: IT: CHAPTER 2 is now in theaters. This is a portion of our review of IT: CHAPTER 2. For the full review, including a breakdown of content, violence, sex, language and nudity, click here.
IT CHAPTER 2 is a rather confusing theatrical version of the second part of Stephen King’s bloated horror novel about a group of adults who must return to their hometown to finally kill a mysterious demonic entity, which awakens every 27 years to pose as a friendly clown so It can haunt and murder the town’s children for one year. The movie is being marketed as an extremely scary horror movie with an iconic villain, but the changes from the novel make the story and its climax confusing. Also, although the adults in the story are often courageous, they eventually bully the monster in order to defeat it, which is strange and contradictory since a major theme of the movie is how these adults were themselves bullied as children, sometimes by thuggish anti-homosexual teenage boys. IT CHAPTER 2 also has lots of gratuitous “f” words, extreme violence and gross forms of sexual immorality, including promoting homosexuality and flippant comments about other boys’ mothers.
The movie opens in the small town of Derry, Maine, 27 years after a group of six teenage boys and a girl supposedly conquered a mysterious demonic entity who poses as a deceptively friendly clown named Pennywise. The group calls themselves the Losers Club because they’ve all been bullied. The entity, which has hallucinogenic powers, poses as a clown so it can lure children to scare them and eat them. As the creature explains to the reader in Stephen King’s book, Its preferred prey is children because their fears are easier for It to create in the physical world. The creature also explains that it originally existed in a void between our universe and other universes before it arrived in Derry millions of years ago in an asteroid-like impact. Except for the asteroid impact, this explanation is missing from this particular movie version. Consequently, the movie never really explains who or what It is.
In the movie’s first act, two male homosexual lovers at a town carnival in Derry are bullied by a small group of male thugs. One of the two men flippantly tells them off, but the thugs catch up to them outside the carnival and viciously beat them. The thugs then throw the flippant man off a bridge into the town river and leave. The remaining homosexual guy painfully pulls himself off the ground and sees his friend swimming to the other side of the river. On the opposite bank, however, is Pennywise the evil clown, who promptly bites the man’s chest and eats his heart.
Cut to Mike, the town librarian and the only one of the Losers Club who’s stayed in Derry. For years he’s been conducting research on the alien monster’s periodic feasts on the town’s children and sometimes the adults. A recent spate of missing children tells Mike that the demonic entity the Losers Club calls “It” was not destroyed as they had thought but is back in action. So, Mike starts calling the other members of the club to remind them of their promise to return to Derry and stop It if he ever returns.
However, It, the creature, not only has hallucinogenic powers, it also has the power to make people forget what happened in the past, especially if you leave Derry. So, all the other members of the Losers Club have forgotten their previous encounters with the creature 27 years ago. Despite that, something in their unconscious minds drives all but one of them to return to Derry to meet with Mike at the Chinese restaurant in town. They soon find out that their friend Stan became so scared that he committed suicide rather than face the evil entity again.
At the Chinese restaurant, their memories start to return, but It tries to scare them by creating an illusion of a bunch of gross looking, scary little creatures hatching from the fortune cookies placed on their table. Realizing it’s just an hallucination, the six remaining friends compose themselves, and Mike explains to them he thinks he knows of a way to get rid of the It monster. One of the friends, however, who’s become a wealthy insurance analyst, says he’s leaving and seems to convince two others to leave too, including the redhaired girl named Beverly, who’s left her abusive husband even though they own a successful company together. Bill, the other guy left with Mike, tells Mike they can’t fight the monster without the help of the others.
However, back at the hotel, Beverly has second thoughts about leaving. She’s in love with Bill, who she thinks wrote her a sweet anonymous love poem when they were teenagers. She doesn’t know that Ben, the chubby, geeky teenager who’s grown into a much thinner, handsome looking adult, was the one who really wrote the note. Ben’s scared to tell her, though. Meanwhile, seeing Beverly has just rekindled Bill’s teenage feelings for her, even though he’s now married (the movie earlier had shown that Bill and his wife had a fight just before he left for Derry). Of course, for this love triangle to work dramatically, the plot requires Beverly not to have discussed the note with Bill because she assumes he already knows about it since he wrote it.
Because of this love triangle, Ben, Bill and Beverly decide to stay and help Mike. They convince Ritchie, who’s become a successful standup comic, to stay, and Ritchie, despite having second thoughts about staying, convinces Ed to stay with the others’ help.
Mike’s plan to defeat the monster involves a pagan fire ritual that the local American Indians, who live outside the city, taught him. However, before they perform the ritual, they each must separately collect personal tokens from the past to throw into the fire.
This leads to a really lengthy section where each of the Losers Club members wander either the town or the homes and places they frequented as children to find their individual tokens. This in turn leads to memories of past hallucinogenic attacks and past real attacks from the demonic creature and even some new attacks. So, the question becomes, will these old and new attacks make the Losers Club lose their courage or will they forge ahead with Mike’s plan?
At the time Stephen King published his novel IT in 1986, many (if not most) critics thought the book was too long and bloated. That’s pretty much the case with this movie version of the other half of King’s novel. Though IT CHAPTER 2 often manages to hold the viewer’s attention, it starts to get a little tedious spending so much time with the characters looking for the personal tokens they have to throw into the ritual fire. Also, an exciting and scary but overlong sequence of Pennywise transforming himself into a huge crab or spider-like creature to chase and attack the Losers Club members goes on too long. Also, this action sequence becomes almost as silly as it is scary.
[spoilers follow] Like many of the physical attacks against Pennywise, the pagan, mystical ritual to defeat him, turns out to be ineffectual. In one sense, this is very good from MOVIEGUIDE®’s Christian, biblical worldview because it shows that paganism and occult mysticism don’t work. Of course, in His Word, God also says that paganism, occultism and mysticism are intellectually flawed and spiritually flawed as well immoral, evil and sinful. The Bible also says that participating in paganism, occultism and mysticism can leave people susceptible to the Devil’s influence and the influence of his demonic minions. Thus, simply showing that paganism and occult mysticism don’t work doesn’t go far enough.
Even more awful, however, is a major scene where the Losers Club try to defeat the evil Pennywise by, essentially, bullying and ridiculing him. Up to that point, the filmmakers went to great pains showing how evil it is to bully and ridicule other people, especially bullying homosexuals. For example, the movie starts with the group of thugs bullying and beating up the two young homosexual men. In a couple other scenes, the movie shows the local teenage thugs, led by a mean son of a mean policeman, hurling homosexual slurs against a young Ben and Bill. Thus, the scene where the Losers Club tries to defeat the evil monster by bullying and ridiculing him makes little sense, because it shows the victims of bullies using bullying tactics against the monster who’s trying to kill them.
At first thought, this issue would just seem to be a big, destructive contradiction in the whole movie. However, if you think about it, it just reflects the leftist political correctness that’s been infecting Hollywood for decades. For decades, the leftist wing of the Hollywood establishment has been condemning conservatives for being bullies. It not only condemns fiscal conservatives and gun rights advocates. It also condemns those social conservatives, whether Christian or Jewish, who believe that homosexuality is evil and loathsome, as biblical passages like Leviticus 18:1-30 assert. They’re all bullies, these leftists claim. Yet, how do these leftists want society, schools, the government, and even places of worship to deal with such conservative “bullies”? Shun them, harangue them, ridicule them, deprive them of their free speech rights, limit their property rights, force them to bake same-sex wedding cakes, tax them as much as possible, fire them from their jobs! Sadly, some of these leftists, such as the supporters of Antifa, the violent Marxist group, even want people to physically attack conservatives, including Bible-believing Christians and Jews (after they have falsely labeled them, of course). In short, these leftists, after spending lots of time and effort complaining about and harshly condemning bullying, become bullies themselves!
Thus, IT CHAPTER 2 not only has lots of gratuitous “f” words, extreme violence and gross forms of sexual immorality. It also has a very strong Romantic, politically correct, contradictory leftist worldview where society has become corrupt, including many fathers and mothers and some husbands. This corrupt society has created a bunch of evil people who bully their children, bully their peers, bully their spouses, and bully strangers. In addition, the worst of these bullies like to bully and even physically attack homosexuals, or hurl homosexual slurs against boys and men they don’t like. It also turns out in the movie that Ritchie, the standup comic, has a not-so-secret homosexual crush on Ed, even though Ed seems to be a heterosexual. The filmmakers create a strong sympathy for Ritchie because of his unrequited homosexual longings.
All in all, therefore, IT CHAPTER 2 is an overlong, sometimes confusing, occasionally silly, contradictory, ultraviolent, ultimately abhorrent horror movie. In addition to the scary, often intense, sometimes gruesome, and bloody violence, it has abundant foul language, including many “f” words and some strong profanities. Finally, it contains some gross sexual immorality. For example, it’s strongly implied that Beverly’s father molests her. Also, in one scene the monster conjures a grotesque old man who tries to lick one of the Losers. Finally, there are several insults where one of the Losers crudely jokes about having intercourse with another one’s mother. As a result, although the movie makes it clear that Pennywise and the monster are evil and must be destroyed, IT CHAPTER 2 comes with lots of objectionable, abhorrent content and a contradictory, immoral resolution. The meal that IT CHAPTER 2 provides is an unappetizing one that fails to create the kind of redemptive, uplifting experience that can satisfy one’s hunger, much less enrich one’s soul.
NOTE: IT: CHAPTER 2 is now in theaters. This is a portion of our review of IT: CHAPTER 2. For the full review, including a breakdown of content, violence, sex, language and nudity, click here.Do you enjoy articles like this? Click here to become a monthly partner and receive a copy of UNPLANNED on DVD!