A Review of IT (2017) and It’s sequel IT: Chapter 2 (2019)

WARNING: This article contains talk of death, suicide, abuse, and bullying as well as spoilers for the newer IT series, the 1990’s miniseries, and the book. Reader discretion is advised.


Magdalena Reutzel, Staff Title

“IT” by Stephen King follows the fate of the Losers’ Club as they fight against the intergalactic demon creature dubbed ‘IT’.  Through the few different adaptations, I have to say that my favorite would be the newer movie “IT” and its sequel “IT: Chapter Two”. The first movie takes place in 1989 which is different from both the original 1990’s miniseries and the book. The second movie takes place mostly in 2016 but flashes back to 1989.

“IT” 2017 was undoubtedly the movie that started my fear of clowns. After allowing my fear to get the best of me for a while, I finally mustered up the courage to watch the movie and was pleasantly surprised. Although it was a horror movie at heart, it brought up topics of bullying and abuse from an older time period. I found myself identifying with some of the characters in the movie, and that ultimately led to my obsession with this Stephen King adaptation.

When I found out about the sequel I was thrilled and rushed from school on opening day to go see it in theaters. I have to say that while the first movie has the horror appeal to it, the second one was the one that sealed my fate into the IT fandom. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried in the theater. The portrayal of the characters, the flashbacks, and the casting all lead to ‘IT’ becoming one of my favorite horror movies.

In the first movie of the IT duo, we see Georgie Denbourgh get killed by the clown Pennywise, it isn’t until many months later do we see his older brother Bill, and Bill’s friends, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stan Uris, do everything in their power to find him. As they continue to dig deeper into Georgie’s disappearance they add Mike Hanlon, Ben Hanscom, and Beverly Marsh into their ‘Losers Club.’ The tie that keeps them together, besides seeing their fears coming to life, is constant bullying by Henry Bowers and his goons, Patrick Hocksetter, Victor Criss, and Belch Higgins. The more the ‘Losers Club’ finds out about their town’s, Derry’s, history, the more it upsets the monster known as ‘IT’. Finally, after ‘IT’ takes Beverly from her home, the rest of the ‘Losers Club’ track down this creature of fear and seem to defeat it, before making a promise to return if ‘IT’ somehow returns.

The second movie takes place 27 years later, in 2016 when the Losers Club are all 40. When it seems that ‘IT’ has returned, Mike Hanlon, who stayed in Derry for all of his life, calls up the rest of the Losers to return to Derry and keep their promise. All of the Losers meet back up in Derry, well besides Stan, who committed suicide to save the Losers Club, where they start to remember their childhood. After some disagreements, Mike convinces the Losers to split up and find some tokens needed for the Ritual of Chud. When the Losers meet back up again, they have one final battle between themselves and ‘IT’, which ultimately leads to them facing their fears one last time and Eddie’s death.

‘IT’ and its sequel ‘IT Chapter 2’ had a lot of inconsistencies compared to the book.  For starters, the book is placed in the fifties, while ‘IT’ is placed in the late eighties. The children were younger too, at only about 10 years of age. The children’s heritage also differs greatly in the book. In the book, you get to meet many parents that seemingly disappeared from the movie like Richie’s parents, Wentworth and Maggie Tozier. A whole lot of the things that made the book mature were kept from the movies, which is a very good thing (please trust me on this). The lore for ‘IT’ and how it came to be was only halfway written out and there is no mention of the turtle. The turtle is a creature in the book that is the enemy of ‘IT’ and created the entire world because it had a bellyache (I’m not making this up).  Although the movie alludes to the turtle in many ways, such as numerous turtle toys/statues, it is never explicitly stated.

One thing that the movies do have on both the book and the original miniseries is Richie’s sexuality. At the end of ‘IT Chapter 2’, we find out that Richie was in love with his fellow loser Eddie. We see Richie’s reaction to Eddie’s death (which broke me) before we see Richie carving an R+E into the kissing bridge, something that he faintly did as a child. Richie’s sexuality was something never mentioned in the original miniseries and is something that is only implied in the book when Richie continuously calls Eddie cute or pinches his cheek. After Eddie dies, the book even states, “They put him down, and Richie kissed Eddie’s cheek. […] ‘Why’d you do that?’ Beverly asked. ‘I don’t know,’ Richie said, but he knew well enough,” (page 1118). So although not stated, the book heavily implies Richie’s sexuality and his love for Eddie. Honestly, their ship, Reddie, is one that I love, and one I wish we could have seen more of.

Another thing that movies have on the miniseries and the book is an amazing cast. It is undeniable that the cast for these two newer movies has amazing both on-screen and off-screen chemistry. The amount of sheer talent that went into getting the adult cast to look like that of their younger counterparts must be astounding. I will not deny that the on-screen chemistry is what kept me interested in the fandom.

Stan’s letter at the end of ‘IT Chapter 2’ is truly a heartbreaker but one that I am quite glad was included. After Eddie’s death, and the defeat of ‘IT’, the remaining Losers are sent a letter from Stan explaining the reasoning as to why he needed to kill himself. In the end, he died to protect the Losers and it worked. The powerfulness behind this final scene is the reason why I paused my movie and wrote down the entire letter from the written one shown on screen. Excessive? Maybe, but it was something I wanted to remember. For me, the letter wasn’t just about Stan saying goodbye to the Losers, it was the cast and crew saying goodbye to their production and subsequently to us. The power of this letter, of how it was read, resonated with me the same way Stan’s bar Mitzvah speech did earlier on within the movie.

Overall, IT has to be one of my favorite horror movies and something that I loved to review. No matter how many times I will rewatch the movies I will quote every line from ‘IT’ and will cry at the ending of ‘IT Chapter 2’. I have no doubt that so far, this has been the best IT to date, and the fact that the first movie was made exactly 27 years from the original miniseries is even better.

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