Written by Melissa Allen, who you can follow on Twitter at @melissajournal

Bill Skarsgård as as Pennywise in IT: Chapter Two / Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/© 2019 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.
Bill Skarsgård as as Pennywise in IT: Chapter Two / Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/© 2019 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.

Stephen King is one of the biggest names in the horror world, having published over 61 fiction novels, and six non-fiction books. He is the master of horror, and his films are to be feared and revered. Many of his fictional books have been adapted for film such as: Pet Cemetery, The Shining, Misery, and of course, IT. The films are largely popular with anyone who's a fan of the horror genre and follows King in his conquering of not only the literary world, but now the film world too. IT is a huge success: when the first film adaptation was released in 2017 people couldn’t get enough – so when Chapter Two was released in September this year, people flooded the cinema to see one of King’s most brilliant works come to an end.

IT began as a book, written in 1986, about an entity (taking the shape of a clown) who takes the children of Derry and horrifies the residents who live there. The notion of a clown as the antagonist seems overdone by now – but not if you’ve read IT. The book is just as horrifying as the film, as King truly knows how to set a scene and make you shiver in your seat, even with just words on a page.

The book stretches to approximately 1,100 pages and many of these pages are dedicated to description alone – which is where the horror creeps in, just as a killer creeps up on who he’s chasing in a film, the book manages to do the same. Some pages, however, may seem to drag, as piling on description can get tedious after a while, especially in the midst of a terrifying sequence of Pennywise and his ability to take who he wants, when he wants.

The characters within this book are almost impossible not to fall in love with, even with the cliché group of friends known as The Losers Club in the book. The seven personalities of the seven Losers clash perfectly, even the loudmouth Richie, who's played by Finn Wolfhard in the 2017 movie. The characters simply bounce off each other and prove that clichés can be done over and over again, and when utilised by the right person are simply brilliant. On screen these characters are just as perfect, with Beverly’s (Sophie Lillis) innocent yet carefree attitude coming across perfectly in both book and film, and Bill’s (Jaeden Lieberher) worrying, anxious demeanor being just as bold – these characters were executed perfectly.

Despite these actors nailing their roles, Richie’s character in the book got rather irritating, but in a way where you needed his character; you needed his jokes and fake voices to break the tension and ground you as a reader. In the film, it felt more like an exact opposite. Richie’s quips and frankly rude personality unfortunately does not match the love-hate relationship we felt for him in the book. Rather than grounding you, it separates you from the horror and makes you wonder why he’s there at all – which is an immense shame.

In Chapter One, we are confronted with how some of the Losers see IT; each character sees Pennywise in a new and different way. Eddie sees a leper with a rotting face, and Ben sees a burned figure, without a head. Each fear is almost customised to each Loser and how they see IT immediately shapes them into who they’ve become in Chapter Two. Some fears, however, were not shown the same as they were in the book. Ben’s winter fear of IT disguised as a mummy, chasing him slowly across a snowy bridge was disturbing to say the least; this was not seen in Chapter One, perhaps for good reason as to leave some things to the imagination of the audience.

The trailer for Chapter Two was like looking through a keyhole into Derry and only seeing what you are told to see. Chapter Two has been anticipated for two years and when the trailer dropped earlier this year, excitement set in. Taking a short look into lives of the Losers 27 years later can come as either a shock, or you are seeing what you expected to see.

The actors playing the older versions of the Losers could not have been more perfect, as James McAvoy’s Bill Denbrough was captivating, and Beverly was perfectly captured by Jessica Chastain. The adult Losers perfectly reflect their younger selves, which may have been helped by the young and older actors spending time with one another off set to understand each other’s character and put this on screen.

The whole premise of these films is that while the plot may not be believable, you are meant to think it really could happen, as you are sitting on the edge of your seat in disbelief. However, the inclusion of Pennywise’s origin separated the audience from the horror and made the film almost unrealistic, as a clown coming from space doesn’t breathe reality.

Despite this, the franchise itself is captivating and Stephen King has nailed the clichés of characters in such a way that they become new and ricochet off of each and every character in the Losers club. While horror may be slightly overdone and the image of a clown is something we’ve seen for decades, King manages to bypass all this to give us what we want – a true horror experience like something never seen before.

MORE: Seven things you never knew about Pennywise if you haven't read Stephen King's novel IT

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