Millennials Talk Cinema: ‘IT Chapter Two,’ ‘Ready or Not’

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A pair of R-rated, horror- thriller films — one short (95 minutes), one long (2 hours, 49 minutes) — prove that when it comes to serving up jolts, shocks and frights, scary movies come in all shapes and sizes.

“IT Chapter Two,” director Andy Muschietti’s second film based on Stephen King’s massive, 1,138-page, 1986 masterpiece “IT,” continues the story began in the blockbuster 2017 film of the same name. Jumping ahead to 27 years after the voracious Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) brought his soul-scarring bloodbath to Derry, Maine and was more-or-less defeated by the self-titled Loser’s Club, the film brings the now-grown-up Losers back to their hometown for one more confrontation with the world’s most terrifying clown.

“Ready or Not,” directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, is far more modest in its ambitions, proving that sometimes less is more. On her wedding night, after marrying the scion of a filthy-rich board-game dynasty, Grace (Samantha Weaving) is forced into playing a midnight game of Hide-and-Seek with her new in-laws. She quickly learns that in this game, which abruptly turns from fun to fright, the use of axes, swords, crossbows and antique pistols is mandatory.

Here’s what a pair of writers from our pool of local movie reviewers have to say about these two films.

‘IT CHAPTER TWO’ (Rated R)

Amber-Rose Reed

Okay, first of all, this movie is long!

Consider this a warning.

Do not forget that this is a three-hour experience you’re about to have.

Having said that, don’t let the length dissuade you. It’s definitely worth it, for the way “IT Chapter Two” fills out and completes the story from the first movie, and most of all for the great casting. The kids from “Chapter One” all remain delightful — a fact the filmmakers are almost too aware of, as they shy away from letting the adult actors dominate their own story. And those adult actors are every bit as delightful as their younger counterparts.

Bill Hader (as the grown up Richie) is a standout, equal parts funny and sympathetic, and James McAvoy’s performance (as the adult Bill) had heartbreaking moments. And I can’t forget my favorite child in the movie, Victoria, played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong, who has a small but memorable part involving a firefly.

“IT” is definitely creepy fun, and funnier than I expected, but not without its flaws. The script definitely could use some tightening, as some of the flashbacks seem shoehorned or unnecessary, and a couple plot threads sort of meander away. Sometimes the CGI scares are overblown, as if the movie forgets two essential truths.

One: sometimes less is more. Tension can come just as strongly from a child creeping into the dark as from a CG leper’s jabbing tongue.

And two: really, nothing is scarier than a plain old clown.

[Suggested emojis: Thumbs Up, Red Balloon]

‘READY OR NOT’ (Rated R)

Katie Wigglesworth

I’m completely enamored with this movie!

I want to see it again. I want to gush about it ad nauseam. I want everyone to go and see it so that I can gush about it ad nauseam with people who hopefully also want to go see it again.

“Ready or Not” is so, wonderfully fun and positively packed-to-the-brim with genuine humor, smart writing, excellent performances, and clever subversions of classic thriller and horror tropes.

While there are some well choreographed, stomach clenching bursts of gore, “Ready Or Not” is more of a thriller/comedy with horror trappings. It’s in the same region as movies like “Happy Death Day” or “Cabin in the Woods,” movies that lovingly mess around with the tropes and tones of the horror genre with stabs, winks, and snorts of laughter. As a fan of genre crossovers and dark comedy twists, this didn’t bother me one bit. But if you’re expecting a blood chilling, nightmare-fest, you won’t find it here.

What you will find is Samara Weaving killing it with her fabulously engaging performance in this wild, absurd ride of a movie. All the acting is lovely, but Weaving is excellent from start to finish. She’s charming, fierce, and sells ever scene she’s in. Were I ever stuck in this kind of reverse “Clue” murderfest scenario (everyone in the creepy murder mansion with all the weapons trying to kill me), Grace (Weaving) is at the top of my list of people I’d want to be stuck with.

Sharp, thrilling, unpredictable, and utterly entertaining, “Ready or Not” is definitely a must see movie of 2019!

[Suggested emojis: Heart-Eyed Face, Big Knife Emoji]

[Suggested emojis: Heart-Eyed Face, Cartoon Knife)

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