Me: Well, I saw the rest of It.
You: The rest of what?
Y: Right, what did you see the rest of?
Y: What is it?
M: Chapter Two. You know, the sequel to the highest grossing horror movie of all time, It.
Y: Oh, yeah. I forgot about It. It seems like It came out a long time ago.
M: It was only 2017. That's life in the Trump era.
Y: Huh. Well, how was it?
M: It was okay, I guess. I'll have to admit, I thought the first one was overrated, even though I know most people don't agree. It made $700 million domestically! There were some good performances, like Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, the lone girl in the group of teenage friends who call themselves the Losers. They live in the small town of Derry, Maine, which, it turns out, has a kind of Hellmouth situation.
Y: You mean like Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
M: Not exactly. It was built on the site where an ancient evil crashed to Earth from the sky, presumably from space. Now it's haunted by Pennywise, a demon who looks like a clown who dances and sings little songs.
Y: A clown, huh? That doesn't sound so scary.
M: The clown eats children.
M: Also, it sometimes takes the form of a semi-humanoid spider thingy. And it knows your worst fear and will taunt you with it before it eats you with its thousand-toothed maw.
Y: That's messed up.
M: That's Stephen King for you. It's based on one of his most beloved novels.
Y: What's it called?
Y: Right. Shoulda seen that one coming. So how does it compare to the book?
M: I don't know; I never read It.
Y: Not a Stephen King fan?
M: No, I like King just fine. 'Salem's Lot was my jam. Vampires crossed with Lovecraftian, New England, existential horror — someone should adapt that one. Shut up and take my money!
Y: Stephen King's had a lot of movies made out of his books, hasn't he?
M: He's the most adapted author in history. The trailer for Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, ran before It Chapter Two. Looked pretty good.
Y: He wrote The Shining, too? That guy gets around!
M: He sure does. He's got a cameo in It Chapter Two as the owner of a pawn shop, playing opposite James McAvoy as Bill, who grows up to become a horror writer. King was my favorite part of Creepshow, where he played the farmer who gets eaten by meteorite slime. He's a much better actor than he is a director. You ever seen Maximum Overdrive?
M: Don't bother, unless you want to see what the product of full-blown cocaine psychosis looks like.
Y: Maybe I do ...
M: That's on you. Anyway, when they're kids, the Losers have a run-in with Pennywise the clown; afterwards, they make a blood oath to reassemble if he ever comes back. Now, it's 27 years later, and kids are disappearing in Derry again. Mike (Isaiah Mustafa/Chosen Jacobs) stayed in town, living above the library, obsessed with figuring out how to defeat Pennywise once and for all. He calls the now-grown-up Losers back together. The first film was set in 1989, which means It is kind of like The Big Chill for Gen Xers, only with a demon clown who feeds on your fear. It's kinda like the Trump era.
Y: That's a little too real.
M: Yeah. Pennywise the clown is a metaphor for coming to terms with your anxiety and past trauma. That's what It is about. Fortunately, Bill Hader is in it, as Old Richie, who used to be Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things. Hader saves It from its own increasingly ponderous mythology by basically playing himself. (If you haven't seen Barry on HBO, it's a must. He's brilliant in it.) Jessica Chastain plays Old Beverly, and she's got that Molly Ringwald haircut, to keep it authentic.
Y: Bottom line: Should I go see It Chapter Two?
M: Sure, if you like It. It doesn't really hold together as a movie, but if you're invested in It, you'll probably dig It Chapter Two, even though it's really long and a bit of a slog in places.
Y: Is it the best horror movie of the year?
M: No, that would be Us.