- The Washington Times - Friday, December 27, 2019

The evil presence in Derry, Maine, returns and the Losers’ Club that first defeated it must band together as adults for a final confrontation in the horror thriller It Chapter Two (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 169 minutes, $29.96), now available in ultra-high definition.

Director Andy Muschietti’s continuation of the 2017 film faithfully completes the most recent cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s seminal horror novel and finds the clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) on another homicidal binge 27 years after its first appearance.

As the creature begins to horrendously kill humans in the town again, each Losers’ Club member must find an artifact that leads the characters on emotional roller coaster rides as well as the viewers being exposed to some nail-biting and gruesome moments.

The ensemble cast perfectly mimics the adult versions of the child cast from the previous film — Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain to Sophia Lillis), Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy to Jaeden Martell), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader to Finn Wolfhard), Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa to Chosen Jacobs), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan to Jeremy Ray Taylor), Eddie Kaspbrak  (James Ransone to Jack Dylan Grazer) and Stanley Uris (Andy Bean to Wyatt Oleff).

With the additional return of the young stars in many appreciated 1989 flashbacks, viewers can gleefully compare performances while watching the group’s maturity and mission unfold.

The scenes of horror are captivating as Pennywise continually torments the group highlighted by Beverly Marsh encountering an older quirky woman in her old house, the group at a Chinese restaurant meeting some grotesque creatures and a massive Paul Bunyan statue coming to life and tormenting Richie Tozier.

Although some may complain about the length of the movie that often offers a mix of too much humor with the horror, I relished my time in the madcap “It” universe and especially loved some of the old-school-looking creatures that director Sam Raimi’s “Army of Darkness” devotees will love.

4K in action: Viewers will have to deal with only a 4K upscale from 2K theatrical source material, but still many of the outdoor and creepy indoor settings stand out due to the increase in color saturation and terrifying clarity.

Normally, I am a fan of the less detail as possible when plunged into a horror film, but the chance to also really finely dissect the make-up and effects-work on creating Pennywise, his minions, as well as the occasional rotting corpse (reference an encounter in a pharmacy basement) makes the UHD version the recommended viewing option.

Colors reach a peak during Bill Denbrough encounter with Pennywise in the neon-encrusted carnival funhouse, a possessed Paul Bunyan in outdoor action and Beverly drowning in a bathroom stall filling with blood.

Use the included digital code to access the film on iTunes via the Movies Anywhere streaming service to find a bonus featurette with Mr. Mustafa and production designer Paul Austerberry offering a 10-minute tour of the clock tower attic apartment where Mike Hanlon tracked and prepared for the return of Pennywise.

Best extras: Fans get a treasure chest of bonus content led by an optional commentary track with the director found on the 4K and Blu-ray disc.

Mr. Muschietti is slightly difficult to understand due to his Argentinian accent but listen close to learn a bit about the production, comparisons to the book and the first movie, and his thoughts on the cast and the scares.

Unfortunately, he is often absent during the track and comments more on the action happening on screen rather than taking advantage of the track format to offer broad insight on his vision and filmmaking process.

Owners can next pop in an extra Blu-ray disc to find a two-part overview of bringing both movies to life that runs 76 minutes long.

It starts with the director’s and crew’s passion for the project and their fascination with Stephen King and often focuses on the comradery between the cast members and bringing Pennywise to life

Additional featurettes include 6 minutes with Mr. King talking about his book and the movies, 10 minutes on Mr. Skarsgård transformation into the clown and 8 more minutes comparing the young versus old cast.

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