It: Chapter Two

Vampire Owl: Have you met the vampire clown?

Vampire Bat: We have a vampire clown now?

Vampire Owl: Yes, even the zombies have their own clowns in a zombie-infested theme park, and it was necessary for us to arrange one.

Vampire Bat: Now we have to pay him too. Being a clown is not even a real job in the vampire world with base in horror.

Vampire Owl: It is okay, because he will be playing the It clown only.

Vampire Bat: It clown is a creature that vampires shall not accept as their own.

Vampire Owl: But he has become a trend, and we have to accept him as our own too. This is not child’s play.

Vampire Bat: Well, I am sure that he was not the kind of clown the vampire elders had approved.

Vampire Owl: But he is trending on Vampire Twitter, and it has been so for the last one year.

Vampire Bat: What? Even the vampires are letting a clown trend when we have pure non-vegetarian vampires!

[Gets some tapioca chips and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In 1988-1989 time period, in the streets of a small and lesser known town Derry, a his six-year-old child was taken into the sewers and eaten by Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard), and a team of children had forgotten their fears to destroy the creature, and send it into hibernation for twenty seven years, hoping that it would starve and die during the time period with no option available. The team of children known as the Losers swears a blood oath that they shall be returning to to the town of Derry as adults if It returns to haunt the place ever again. Twenty seven years later, a young man is murdered by a clown which is said to have eaten his heart. A young girl who was watching a match in a stadium is also lured by It, and murdered under the seats of the gallery. Derry town now has more than what it can handle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: This ancient cosmic evil which preys upon children and possessing a large variety of powers including the ability to shapeshift, manipulate and create illusions has gone unnoticed by the police and the people in charge there, but the same cannot be said about Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) who discovers clues to the presence of the creature. As the only person left in the town out of the children’s team serving as the town librarian, he decides to call the other members of the gang. Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) who has been going through sexual and physical abuse in the hands of her husband is only happy to come to the town, while the successful novelist Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) is quick to respond. A frightened Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) commits suicide and a lonely Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) is only happy about a get together. Others, Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) and Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) also reach there, but are they good enough to face this advanced It?

The defence of It: Chapter Two :: Even in the absence of the quality of the first movie, the second one manages to stay floating against all the ice it had created in the water as hurdles including the dumb humour, silly bonding among friends and the not so scary frightening scenes. There are moments of horror which works in the movie, and in the final fifty to fifty five minutes of action, almost everything works as far as the scares are concerned. The adult replacements are good, but not that much as the children, and not all of them works accordingly. The clown remains a fantastic figure of horror, and it is only when the creature comes out there with all its glory that we realize that there is something special in this movie – whenever It is there, the movie raises its level, and the so called adults don’t really live up to the quality of the clown. Among the scary scenes, the most notable one might be the creepy old woman thing, and then the murder of the two kids.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that It: Chapter Two fails to meet the standards of the first movie which had that first scene of the child taken into sewers being among the best scenes ever in a horror movie. It also had a projector scene to stay in our memory along with others. Yes, the old woman scene is creepy, and there is some continuous dose of horror in the last few minutes, but they are more or less for the quick scares rather than being there to stay for long. There is no scene as in the first movie to remember in this second film in comparison, and it also drags a lot. There is a lot of slow movement inside the movie during the first half, and it is during the last one hour or so that the movie picks up its pace. It should have had that kind of horror which keeps us awake at night in the darkness like Lights Out could do when lights were turned off, but this second movie focuses too much on other things, as the bonding is too much and the humour is dumb.

Performers of the soul :: With its flashback, this movie is more or less drama than horror, as the children keep coming back to this film too, with its flashbacks. The young generation of the cast continues to score over the older ones, especially Sophia Lillis who becomes Jessica Chastain as an adult, and stay pretty well throughout the movie. James McAvoy is also very good, and is the next notable character in the flick. Jay Ryan is the one who seems to be completely different from his childhood avatar, and manages to be just okay. James Ransone provides the fun here, even though the humour itself is not that much working. Bill Hader with the comic side is also only somewhat working. Isaiah Mustafa does a good job as the one who brings them all together, the confident one among the Losers. Andy Bean is wasted while Bill Skarsgard as the clown continues to entertain – maybe some more kids would have added more here.

How it finishes :: It: Chapter Two is too long a movie, and has most of its best moments directed to the final one hour. A lot of the movie was rather not needed, including the first scene and the hallucinations when the protagonists come together. The collection of artifacts could have also been shortened to make this a one hundred and twenty minutes movie, which would mean an accurate movie filled with horror at all spaces. Still, with whatever we have, rooted in the Stephen King novel of the same name, the film takes the scary elements to the screen well enough. The predictable moments, silly jokes, and the overdone friendship can be avoided though, and we can quickly move towards the last few minutes to enjoy this movie at its best. After all, an evil clown like this is not to be left behind – for terror is real, whether there is Corona virus or not.

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, Bill Skarsgard, Andy Bean

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

It

Vampire Owl: It has been a dangerous thing throughout the ages.

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The one thing which is mentioned by the name “It”.

Vampire Bat: Are you referring to a certain clown like in this movie?

Vampire Owl: Only the humans are afraid of clowns. We have no clowns here; nobody has ever heard about a Vampire Clown.

Vampire Bat: Well, with this movie based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King, the horror has shifted to the clowns.

Vampire Owl: You mean no more vampires, zombies, ghosts, demons and others?

Vampire Bat: I am afraid that humans keep moving from one supernatural creature to the other.

Vampire Owl: We need our own clowns then, and we can refer them by the name “It”.

Vampire Bat: Can you adjust with some fan boys and girls instead?

[Gets three cups of iced tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In the 1980s, we see a little boy being gifted with a paper boat, which he tries to sail through the water on the road, on a day of heavy rain and possibility of storm arriving. As the boats speeds up and goes down a sewer, the boy, George Denbrough a.k.a. Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) looks down only to find a clown that introduces himself as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard) from the circus which closed down due to the storm. As the boy gets closer, the clown wastes no time in biting his arms and dragging him right down inside. Later, William Denbrough a.k.a. Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), his elder brother can’t just stop looking for Georgie. He along with his friends, Richard Tozier a.k.a. Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Edward Kaspbrak a.k.a. Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Stanley Uris a.k.a. Stan (Wyatt Oleff) keeps getting bullied by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his gang.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: They are joined by two other outsiders, Beverly Marsh a.k.a. Bev (Sophia Lillis) who is considered immoral by the students, and Benjamin Hanscom a.k.a. Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) who is the new kid around spending most of his time in the library with the less interesting books. As the town has had a history of disappearing children for a long time, the team decides to find the secret behind the same. They figure out that something strange has occured in every twenty seven years, and this is the year that the same is to happen again. They remember that they have all been frightened by one thing or the other, and a clown was the common thing in their visions – a headless person, a fountain of blood, a zombie-like man, a painting coming to life, and the ghost of Georgie are just more of their worst fear coming true.

And what is to follow next in this adventure? :: They come across another outsider, Michael Hanlon a.k.a. Mike (Chosen Jacobs) who also had visions of a clown and burnt people. They figure out that the creature is using sewer lines to move around, as they check where all the children went missing – all these sewers seem to lead to a well currently under the creepy, partially ruined, abandoned house at 29 Neibolt Street. Now, with the elders not ready to believe in the supernatural, the kids decide that it is their turn to do something about this menace of the clown. But the creature will only be happy to have the children visit his lair, and even they don’t, he is ready to come for them. So, what fate awaits the children as the clown has decided to open the circus again, to feed on enough children before he is ready to go back to sleep for twenty seven years?

The defence of It :: We were waiting for this for long, as the 2014 movie, Clown brought some idea about what we can expect with a movie which has a clown from circus and a kids in there. The scares are abundant with the clown around, and the first appearance of the creature might be the best of them all, as it is not just terrifying, but also disturbing with the attack on the little kid from beneath the sewers. Then there are many moments which contribute to the scares, one after the other, making a series of moments of terror, most of which are to be appreciated for being different from what was shown before. The child actors are too good too, especially Sophia Lillis who is a level above everyone else. Jaeden Lieberher is surely the right choice to play the lead character too, while the support never fails to do what they were to do. Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns can be a nice thing to have with this particular flick.

The claws of flaw :: It could have surely been scarier with the depth of its clown character though, as there could have far more terrifying illusions and hallucinations to go with him, and we could have also had something to take home as scares for the every day life – some interesting horror movies do come up with the same or a rather huge divergent idea. This one won’t claim that, as Lights Out would with each and every moment of darkness. This won’t be that big as Don’t Breathe and The Autopsy of Jane Doe became, redefining horror last year. The bullying also takes a little bit of too much time away from this movie which is already too long with its not that scary moments, going further than two hours. Well, they call it Chapter One, and so there could be more. Let the clown be more next time, with tricks that we can never imagine, raising the sequel to another level.

How it finishes :: We have always loved to watch a Stephen King novel on the screen, and it has been something which gives us assurance about horror, as well as the quality. The movies The Shining, The MistThe Running Man and 1408 keep coming to my mind more often than the rest. This one here is no exception, and it will be there to satisfy our need for a wonderful movie experience, as long as the expectations are not at the top of the peak. You are not going to regret your choice to go for this particular horror movie, as the clown is no usual ghost or demon that you come up against in most of those movies. You will also feel that a sequel will do so much more that, a better equipped, returning clown is all that a horror fan can dream about, or rather have some wonderful nightmares about. So, watch It, and get ready for more in a sequel.

Release date: 8th September 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Chosen Jacobs, Jackson Robert Scott, Stephen Bogaert, Molly Atkinson, Geoffrey Pounsett, Pip Dwyer, Stuart Hughes, Steven Williams, Ari Cohen, Joe Bostick, Megan Charpentier

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mama

mama (3)

This one goes back a little to the past in this year itself, and this is one of those movies which could easily initiate such a sequence in the eternal time machine. This is rather more of the present than the past, as it doesn’t really go back that far if there is an intellectual consideration in depth. It was different in being different, and therefore its influence had to be such a lasting thing. There is one point where all the interest about this movie begins, and that is when one reads these lines from its cover – “Presented by Guillermo del Toro, creator of Pan’s Labyrinth“. He serves as executive producer, and as far as it is known, the movie is based on a 2008 short film of the same name in Spanish, about which there is nothing more to shoot in the quiver which is short of its crossbow bolts from that part of the world. The movie comes up with the dark tale of two little girls left in a seemingly abandoned cabin in the woods, taken care of by an unknown person or creature that they call Mama, and the same entity even follows the girls to their new home to which their father’s brother takes them after finding them as two feral children.

During a financial crisis, a disappointed and depressed man, Jeffrey Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), kills his business partners and wife before taking his little children Victoria and Lilly away from home. Driving too fast on a road paved by snow and upset with all the thoughts about his failures and the crimes he had committed, the car slides off the path and crashes in the woods. Jeffrey takes the children and walks away from civilization, finally reaching something that seems to be an abandoned cabin. He plans to murder his daughters and commit suicide with a gun, but then a mysterious figure arrives in time to instantly kill him and it also feeds the two children. Victoria talks about the figure as a woman whose legs don’t touch the ground. Then the scene shifts to five years later, with Jeffrey’s brother, the kids’ uncle Lucas Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), living with his girlfriend Annabel Moore (Jessica Chastain). They don’t live under good conditions, but Lucas haven’t lost hope about finding the children of his brother. He still sponsors search parties hoping to find some trace of his brother and children.

One of them find the children alive in the same cabin, but dirty, half-naked, horribly thin and with an animal-like behaviour – walking on four legs and talking like making some strange noises. The girls are put under the care of psychatirst Dr. Gerald Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash). They keeps talking about someone called “Mama”. He feels that it is just a creation of the girls’ minds as they were alone in the woods without help. But soon, Lucas is attacked by the same shadowy figure known as Mama and enters a comma. Annabel is forced to take care of the girls all by herself even as Mama’s visits continue. Annabel does get close to the elder child, Victoria, but Lilly remains hostile and highly attached only to Mama. Meanwhile, Gerald finds out something about this mysterious figure from the clues which Victoria gave away. Mama is a mother separated from her child – she used to be Edith Brennan, a mental asylum inmate in the 1800s. He also finds a box containing an infant’s remains from that former mental asylum which was kept as her belonging there. Meanwhile, Annabel has a nightmare revealing Mama’s past which reveals more about her. Lucas also has a disturbing dream of his dead brother Jeffrey telling him to save his kids.

But there might have been more about Mama that what met the eye. She is undoubtedly supernatural as well as tormented. The problem remained if she is normal and thus if she is reasonable. The psychatrist might have thought so, but the experience doesn’t go well for him. Even Lucas and his wife has to go through near-death experiences. So the question would be more about “why mama why?” rather than “who is mama?”. Well, mama is undoubtedly a former mother who no longer exists as a human mother. The nature of her strange love for her child is evident from her asylum background. The question might be about how much torment a mentally unstable ghost can cause to a group of normal, living people. That would be a lot of it, much more than what the mentally unstable father of two little children could do. How much is the chance of one making peace with her? It wasn’t possible when she was alive, and considering the fact that she is more motivated by the love for children rather than anything else, the solution becomes even more complicated in the human world.

Mama is a visual treat of a horror film, and not part of the gory ones which take over in the usual style. There is a well-created world of horror right in front of you all the time, and then suddenly there is a scene that takes your breath further away and then it goes back to normal to await the next thing. Welcome to this story of old-style less bloody horror movie of low gore level. There are signs of Guillermo del Toro’s magical extravaganza Pan’s Labyrinth or El laberinto del fauno, are evident in both the characters as well as the environment. There is the feeling of a dark fantasy through out and there is the lack of sunshine which is more motivating than the depressing thing which it might have become, which is a success in all ways. It’s just how horror films should be, without using any cheap or low class tricks. The looks of Mama is also a revelation, as she emerges from the walls or closet, sometimes suddenly and on other occasions as if part of all the horror that surrounds them. The use of moths to show Mama’s presence is a further effective thing, as it shows more of her tormented sould which is not completely evil, thus owl, crow or bat not chosen; neither is the wolf or cat given a chance at it. Mama is more of a butterfly rather than anything else, but a fierce one.

The movie’s dark world move along the path of Pan’s Labyrinth, but it is still not of that class of ultimate perfection and awesomeness, and still is close enough. It meets Hansel and Gretel in its witch-like creature who is less of a ghost and more of an undead freak of nature. There it shows the qualities of The Orphan meeting The Grudge and The Ring in a good way. Mama could have even made a good creature in Alien or The Exorcist, and the creature’s success is in its strange, but “suitable for almost every genre” looks. She is a dark fairy, the nature’s spectre, the tormented undead mother and the dark elf. She belongs to nature and as a creature to the living, she is more moth or a group of moths rather than anything else. They signify her presence, and if she takes the children with her, there will be more moths for sure. There is the positive thing – the innovation, for how the ghost is treated around here with a difference. The movie is fresh in its treatment of a new ghostly creature with heavy parental instincts. Such a creature is not onne would expect in such a movie, and until it appears everything might look more psychological than supernatural, even if the signs are already there from the beginning itself.

While Mama is a benevolent spirit when it comes to two children, but she is a malevolent and even a death-dealer with everyone else. She hasn’t yet become pure evil, even as her allignment away from goodness and sanity is clear by the climax scene. Even her unseen presence suggests the same. Her moths symbolize the little beauty that she has lost to death and decay and the beautiful world which was lost to her more due to the people around rather than her own madness. There are no usual suspects of the common supernatural, as there is only the variation which is Mama. The movie is very much dependent on your taste to survive, but the fact remains that it is more close to being suitable for all people with not that much blood and gore, or the display of any kind of nudity – well, this one never needed it considering its content and presentation. There is not much of a male gaze or a possible female gaze working out in this one. It is story of an undead mother’s love and with the addition of insanity to it, there is a lot to think about. There is no compromise in being spooky or creepy enough though.

Release date: 18th January 2013
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat

mama copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.