It Chapter Two

Since this exists in relation to the previous entry, it's forced to consider the novel's fundamental dealings with memory, trauma and collective unconsciousness. It also contends more soberly with its source's reflections on socially cultivated oppression and surplus repression; where its predecessor's horror is a bit airless, this film is less afraid to venture into disturbing territory. In some key scenes, the violence actually hurts, and it should.

Yes, it falls into several unfortunate traps that are typical of contemporary American horror cinema--there's an overload of quippery and ironic distancing, and the scares are often clumsily handled--but it also engages with its source's frenzied energy and all-out cosmic mysticism. It's a suitably wacky film, sometimes sloppy but frequently beautiful, unafraid of King's sentimental poetics and off-kilter '80s sensibility.

Despite all reservations, I ended up sorta kinda really liking it.

[Note: for anyone who's interested, my essay "Collective Abjection: Social Horror in Stephen King's It" is included in Thinking Horror: Volume 2]

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