It Chapter Two (2019)

This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun.

Two years later and we’re back!  And we’re not the only ones!  Although technically they waited 27, but I’m not gonna wait that long to write a review.  And it’s still October and Horrors are still thonning, and today’s movie qualifies.  This movie of course is It Chapter Two, based on a novel by Stephen King, written by Gary Dauberman, directed by Andy Muschietti, and starring Bill Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, Sophia Lillis, James McAvoy, Jaeden Martell, Bill Hader, Finn Wolfhard, Isaiah Mustafa, Chosen Jacobs, Jay Ryan, Jeremy Ray Taylor, James Ransone, Jack Dylan Grazer, Andy Bean, and Wyatt Oleff.

27 years after the first movie, Pennywise (Skarsgard) has returned to Derry, Maine and is killing again.  And that means the Losers Club – Beverly (Chastain, Lillis), Bill (McAvoy, Martell), Richie (Hader, Wolfhard), Mike (Mustafa, Jacobs), Ben (Ryan, Taylor), Eddie (Ransone, Grazer), and Stanley (Bean, Oleff) – have a promise to keep: to return to Derry and finish what they started 27 years earlier.  But there’s a problem: most of them have been inexplicably forgetting everything about their time in Derry.  And another problem: Stan killed himself when Mike called him.  So not off to a great start…  But anyway, the rest of the Losers get together in Derry and must work together to overcome the otherworldly evil Clown.

I enjoyed It a great deal, and I also enjoyed It Two too…as well…  I suppose I would assume that I enjoyed the first one more, but this movie would be somewhat confusing without that movie first so it gets extra credit.  Also, just the idea of turning that book into 2 movies seems like such a daunting task and they pulled it off admirably, and trying to wrap everything up is also a challenge.  I had few issues as far as the story goes.  One of them was with the Native American ritual.  My first issue with it is that someone made a comment that the ritual was ridiculous.  Yeah?  It’s a ridiculous solution…for your problem with a shapeshifting ghost alien clown?  …But now that you mention it, you do have a point.  Why the hell would a Native American ritual affect an alien?  Another issue I had was with the way they beat Pennywise.  They essentially defeat him by bullying him.  They just mock him until he shrinks and then they rip his heart out.  So maybe they’re even worse than bullies.  I mean, their bully was a complete psychopath, but even he didn’t get much further than cutting the fat boy.  At least not until he came back as an adult.  The last issue I had with this movie is actually an issue with myself.  In the movie, they do a gag when someone busts through a door and does the “Here’s Johnny!” thing.  I am embarrassed to admit that I actually thought for far too long that this movie ripped off the Shining.

A lot of the visual stuff in this movie was very well executed.  Like all those fortune cookie monsters were terrible.  That’s what they were going for, so congratulations.  Also terrible was the way the Losers cut their hands to make their little pact.  All of their scars looked way too big and then when we saw it happen, it looked like they all cut far deeper than was necessary.  A little slice will do ya!  No need to get the hooked piece of glass and really dig into your hand with it like you’re trying to hit some tendons so you don’t have to use it anymore.  You’re making a promise, not trying to get discharged from the military.  Especially since most of the Losers were young boys that are going to really need those hands coming up in puberty times.  Another terrible thing was Stan’s spider transformation later on.  That could haunt the dreams of a lesser man.

My biggest problem with the cast of the movie is similar to one I had with the first movie: I can’t remember which kids are which.  In this movie, I can’t remember which kids are which and I also can’t remember which adult represented which kid.  Except for Beverly.  For some reason, I was always able to tell which one she was.  Otherwise, all the kids and adults were very good in the movie, and a lot of them really worked as adult versions of their kid counterparts.  Chastain was a fairly obvious choice to take over as Bev.  I feel like she was even dream cast in the part by most places before she was officially cast.  She did great in the role though.  I took some issues with the fact that she went back to her old house that was now occupied by an old lady and just took it upon herself to start destroying the old lady’s floorboards to find a poem, but the trailers already let me know that this old lady was Pennywise so she can get a pass on that.  I didn’t think McAvoy looked very much like his kid, but he was probably hired more for the acting.  But maybe he was just cast last minute when they realized they hadn’t cast a Bill yet.  I assume they do this sort of thing since in the movie he was the writer on a movie that they had started shooting before he had even written the ending yet.  I did wonder why Bill would fall for Pennywise’s Georgie trick as an adult though.  When he’d fall for it as a kid, it made more sense, but why are you as an adult seeing Georgie in a sewer and the same age he was 27 years earlier and you think, “Yup!  That’s gotta be the real Georgie!”  I also wanted to say that when Bill was talking to that kid on the skateboard right after that, I was expecting a Pet Semetary style clobbering by a big truck and was very disappointed when it didn’t happen.  Ransone was a pretty good adult version of Grazer, but I kept getting distracted by where I knew Grazer from until I realized he was the kid from Shazam.  Bill Hader was another one I thought was more cast for who he was than his resemblance to Finn Wolfhard, but it was okay because Hader was great.  He acted the bejesus out of his reaction to a character’s death in the end, and he was also a nice comic relief for the rest of the movie.  Also, there was a cool Stephen King cameo!  …That’s all I had to say about it…

It Chapter Two was probably technically not as good as its predecessor, but since they were both taken from one book, I would say it’s best to just put the two movies together and judge them as one, which means that It was a really fun horror movie that was way too long at like 5 and a half or 6 hours altogether.  The story was good, the visuals were great, it was scary-ish I suppose, and it was cast very well.  You probably already have, but if you haven’t, I recommend you go watch it.  And by it, I mean It.  It Chapter Two gets “For 27 years, I dreamt of you. I craved you… I’ve missed you” out of “I guess you could say that was long overdue.  …Get it?  ‘Cause we’re in a library?”

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Annabelle (2014)

There are Things Happening that I Can’t Explain.

Annabelle (2014)Today’s October Horrorthon movie snuck up on me. I had no awareness of its existence until I started seeing people talking about seeing it all over Facebook and started wondering what it was. Then I looked into it and realized it was a prequel to a movie I had reviewed more than a year ago and had found acceptable. It seemed only right that I take the time to review this movie as well. Especially since my friend Reechurd suggested we see it, and I had nothing better to do. So let’s talk about Annabelle, based on the stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren, written by Gary Dauberman, directed by John R. Leonetti, produced by James Wan, and starring Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Laden, and Tree O’Toole.

Two people go to Ed and Lorraine Warren because they thing their doll is haunted. We then jump back to the 60’s, where John Form (Ward Horton) gives a doll that Satan’s niece outgrew to his pregnant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis). Then Charlie Manson calls for Helter Skelter and Mia hears her neighbors being murdered. Not satisfied, the murders then head to the Form house where the woman and the man stab Mia before John can intervene. The police arrive and shoot the man and find that the woman killed herself while holding Mia’s doll and drew a weird symbol on the wall in her blood. While recuperating from the attack, Mia sees on the news that the female stabber was the daughter of the neighbors that she killed. She also starts seeing weird things happening around the house like things moving, seeing people that disappear, popcorn tries to burn her house down. Y’know, the usual.

Can my entire review for a movie be the word “meh?” Probably not, but I will still use it in this review. I was a bit surprised because of all the talk I had heard about this movie that it just turned out to be okay. It had its moments, but there just wasn’t much significant about it. It progressed like almost every other haunting movie but this time there was a doll. A doll that no one realized was evil till it was possessed by a dead lady even though it looked like it would give the Devil nightmares before it was officially evil. But at least the setup for how the doll became evil was somewhat interesting with the whole devil worship, Helter Skelter thing.

The story doesn’t make much difference in these movies to be honest. What really matters in a movie like this are the spooks. They actually do fairly well with this. The scares are pretty well done and some are fairly clever. It was pretty interesting when Mia was finding the kid-drawn pictures of a garbage truck approaching her baby, even though the final one had the baby dead before the truck had technically hit the baby. But then when it actually happened it turned out to be a dream or something, and it turns out that stole that stroller moving on its own thing from Ghostbusters 2. I also thought it was really well done when that little girl ran down the hall and turned into the older Annabelle. That spooked me somethin’ fierce. It was also pretty effective when the pastor guy was knocked back from the door at the church, and it just made me wonder why the church wouldn’t just sanctify the entire plot of land the church was on. You can only do the building but can’t be bothered to spray some holy water on the sidewalk? They weren’t always that well hidden though, like the whole thing with the sewing machine. I got uncomfortable every time Mia was using it and they got a close up on her fingers, practically telling the audience that eventually some shit was going down with this sewing machine. When it eventually happened, I was disappointed that they seemed to build it up so much just to have her get a minor boo-boo on her finger. So the spooks were fairly good and clever when they happened, but it also shined a light on all the in-between times that were pretty slow and not very interesting.

I suppose I had no problems with the performances in the movie, but I generally have problems with the characters. Like Mia was a terrible person. She seemed fine through most of the movie, but then we find out that when she falls when she’s pregnant, she tries to break that fall with her pregnant belly. It’s a wonder that baby Lea was born and seemed normal, and even more amazing that the baby grows up to be the princess of Alderaan. And besides Ward Horton being delightfully Aryan and Tony Amendola making me believe he was Salieri from Amadeus, I have nothing to say about anyone else in the cast. They were good and didn’t do too many stupid things.

Annabelle wasn’t a bad movie; I just have no idea why people were bothering to talk about it. The Conjuring was just okay, so seeing a prequel to it certainly wasn’t inspiring to me. And the fact that it was about a haunted doll wasn’t doing it for me. And after seeing the movie, I still don’t really know why it’s being talked about. The story is okay, some of the scares are clever and well done, but it’s overall just nothing special. I’d say the movie is fine for a rental eventually, but it really doesn’t have anything that inspires me to say you should see it now. Annabelle gets “May God have mercy on your soul” out of “I like your dolls.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!