“IT Chapter Two” kicks off to a start with a gay man being bullied at a fair by a young father, then is beaten to death before Pennywise claims him.
Children’s laughter echoes while bright red balloons float across the bridge and fill the space under the bridge, marking another place of death.
The bright red balloons mirror dead human heads which are shown later and throughout the movie as a means to show how human minds work— when the space in their heads is filled with anxiety, they think of nothing else outside of their fears. The blood pressure rises until a human cannot contain it anymore and they eventually “pop”.
And “IT Chapter Two” forces every single character to confront their fears once and for all. Blood drips across the screen and into another scene where Beverly (Jessica Chastain) is lying in bed and awakened. It is also at the point when Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) calls her for the crucial congregation of the Losers Club in Derry.
They all realize that unless they fight It, they will also die. The red color also contributes as a foreshadowing of death, whether real or imagined.
As adults, each of the characters have similar fears that forced their screams when they were children. Ben (Jay Ryan) faces the inner torment of still feeling like the fat middle school kid even though quite the opposite is now true of him as an adult.
Bill (James McAVoy) has become a successful novelist whose work is being adapted into a movie, but no one likes the book’s ending so he struggles with a reputation.
Richie (Bill Hader) is making an impression with his perfect standup comedian timing but struggles with drinking in an attempt to drown out the memories of his childhood in Derry.
Beverly, whose father abused her when she was younger, now is married to a man who is eerily reminiscent of her father.
A similar situation with Eddie (James Ransone) whose wife smothers him as much as his mom used to.
However, the instant the Losers Club gang convene at a Chinese restaurant, they fall into their natural rhythms of how they interact over drinks and laughter about their good times. But a serious mood strikes them when each character receives a message from their fortune cookies with only one word.
They all disagree about what the sentence should say and keep rearranging the words until Beverly’s shaky hand puts the remaining word, Stanley. Together the message states: Stanley could not cut it.
Suddenly, the fortune cookies explode into a strange mixture of both babies and larva. These newly evolved creatures attack each character and as the fight slowly dies, each character sees the aquarium is full of zombie heads instead of fish.
This scene is the greatest in “IT Chapter Two”, not only because of its imagery but it drives them into action.
But they also return to the places that most haunted them—physically but also emotionally and mentally.
Bill becomes concerned about a kid he met at the Chinese restaurant after he finds out that kid lives in his old house and does not want the kid to have Georgie’s same fate.
Beverly visits her childhood house to discover a strange old woman who insists she stay for tea and cookies and turns into a monster that chases her.
These are only a few examples but the ones that most stuck out to me.
Ultimately, the whole lesson in “IT Chapter Two” is that many people tend to cling to what is familiar even if what is familiar, hurts. It is an illusion of control which in turn, creates a monster that only grows until that person learns to properly address and deal with their fear.
Usually that means growing up and getting past that fear. Unless you learn how to properly handle your fear, it will continue haunting you. Otherwise it will kill you, not literally but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Header photo courtesy of IT Chapter Two’s Facebook page.