"It" Is Over

There are a few things I can’t look at when watching horror movies: mannequins, clowns, and character stupidity.

I’ll be honest: I’m not very familiar with Stephen King’s works. I’ve heard of him before through cultural osmosis, and the 1976 film adaptation of Carrie gave me nightmares as a child. But aside from that, I wasn’t really exposed to anything he’d written until I watched the latest recreation of his 1986 classic, It, with the first part of the story being released in 2017.

The first segment was captivating. It was gruesome, It was terrifying, It was absolutely enjoyable. The Losers were colorful, lively, and easy to connect with. I found “It’s” persona of Pennywise genuinely terrifying, and came home to an empty dorm room after seeing It in theaters half-expecting a sadistic clown to pop out of the darkness and rip me to shreds. 

It: Chapter 2  theatrical poster

It: Chapter 2 theatrical poster

In comparison, It: Chapter 2 honestly didn’t do much for me. It was an enjoyable experience, but I think the film relies heavily on reusing material from the first segment without adding much of a fresh take on it. And while they’ve incorporated the reused material well, at times it feels repetitive. As a result, the movie seemed unnecessarily long. 

You would think Pennywise would up his ante considering the Losers’ Club had a general idea of how they needed to defeat him this time around, not to mention the fact twenty-seven years had passed since their encounter. Twenty-seven years of growth, experiences, and newly integrated fears for Pennywise to pick apart and terrorize them with. 

Instead, he pulled his usual tricks which, while still chilling, felt a little stale considering he spent a whole other movie using them. And while I understand that even the “Eater of Worlds” has his limitations, the fears he materializes for the Losers had already been run through each of their respective character arcs in the first film. It made sense to roll back to some of them, such as playing on Eddie’s hypochondria, but others were bridges that had already been burned down.

Of course, this can be overlooked considering each member besides Mike entirely forgot their experience with “It” (a phenomenon from having been away from Derry for so long) but may still feel a bit lackluster to anyone who’s seen the first movie. I will say that introducing the Ritual of Chüd—a battle of wills—did bring a fresh sense of purpose to the narrative and brought more relevance to revisiting past trauma. 

And I understand why the Losers needed to relive their childhood trauma; doing so introduces themes of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and personal growth. But when it comes to the great and fearsome “It” himself, the scares were entertaining, but nothing new or special to an audience already familiar with his tricks from the first movie. The fear Pennywise instilled during the first chapter was more impactful when he was terrorizing children than a bunch of adults who knew what was coming for them.

Circling back to Pennywise’s game plan, I was admittedly a little disappointed about Bowers, the Losers’ Club’s tormentor prior to cannibalistic sewer clowns. Having him escape from the institution added more oomf to Pennywise’s game, demonstrating exactly how far his reach is. The fact that Bowers was sent for also tells the viewers that he is different, he will be a trying obstacle for them to overcome once again.

But Bowers died off so quickly, and without leaving much of an impact. I quickly went from “Oh, this fucker’s back, this will be interesting” to “Nevermind, I guess not”. He did stab Eddie in the cheek though, so there’s that. Eddie stabbing him back through the shower curtain was certainly a heart-jumping moment. I just wish Bowers was more properly utilized because, in the end, he was just a waste of Pennywise’s abilities.

This all being said, I don’t think It: Chapter Two is a bad movie. The visual and sound effects were grabbing, and they honestly could not have picked a better cast to portray the fully-grown Losers, who are still just as witty and comical as when they were children. It was still a pleasure watching them interact on-screen, and the flashbacks were all heart-pulling. The jump scares still made me jump. As a stand-alone film, it works well. But compared to the first segment of this adaptation of Stephen King’s classic,  It: Chapter 2 fell a little short of my expectations because I knew exactly what to expect as the narrative progressed.

If you watch this movie without having seen the first part, then it will be an absolute treat for you. It is a good movie, and worth seeing at least once. But it doesn’t have anything on the first chapter.

Michelle Bonga

Michelle is a wandering soul. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. She hopes she’s doing something right. She is a great person to talk to; doesn’t talk much herself. If you’re nice, she’ll haunt you forever. Or until she’s bored.

Nancy Drew: Patron Saint of Stubborn Women

Nancy Drew: Patron Saint of Stubborn Women

It’s locked.

Annabelle Comes Home: A Review

From the very first The Conjuring movie, I was fascinated by the room of cursed objects in the Warrens’ house. Every time a sequel or spinoff came out, I would always hope that this was the one that would be about the room, or would at least give more insight about the objects inside and where they’d all come from. Every time I was let down.

Until Annabelle came home.

The timeline for The Conjuring and all the movies within the series is all over the place. The timeline for The Conjuring universe is as follows:

  1. Annabelle: Creation

  2. The Nun

  3. Annabelle

  4. The Conjuring

  5. Annabelle Comes Home

  6. The Curse of La Llorona

  7. The Conjuring 2

There are other movies in progress, including a third Conjuring movie, and another spinoff entitled The Crooked Man featuring one of the entities from The Conjuring 2, but this is the order of what’s out so far. So the timeline jumps all over the place.

But finally, we’ve been made it to 1955, during which time Annabelle Comes Home takes place, and we finally get to learn more about the room of cursed objects.

Screenshot from  Annabelle Comes Home  produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

Screenshot from Annabelle Comes Home produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

In real life, it’s much more than just a room. The Warrens have a whole occult museum dedicated to objects they’ve obtained from various cases, now locked away safe. Annabelle is, like in the movies, the centrepiece, as the most malevolent of all the objects. 

Ed and Lorraine Warren (may they rest in peace) were paranormal investigators, and there are quite a few horror movies based upon various cases they worked. The Amityville Horror and A Haunting in Connecticut are two of the more prominent examples. The Conjuring series, including all its spinoffs, encompasses a few of their cases, one of which, is the Annabelle doll.

Annabelle has more or less been the centre of everything throughout the Conjuring movies, either appearing in prologues or flashbacks. With each Annabelle movie we’ve gotten a bit more about her story and how she came to not only live with the Warrens, but also how she came to be in the first place.

In Annabelle Comes Home, not only did we get a full movie about where she came from and who she was, but we got a full view of all the power the seemingly innocent doll wields.

I confess myself a bit torn on the movie, overall. I did enjoy it, and would certainly see it again, but I still left the theatre wanting a bit more. This being said, I think my expectations for the movie were exceedingly high in a few ways. As I said, I’ve been hoping for more on the room of cursed objects since watching the first Conjuring movie, but I’ve had several movies to build up hopes and thoughts about the movie’s potential. By the time I found myself sitting in the theatre ready to watch, there was no way the movie could live up to those thoughts.

It’s also worth noting that The Conjuring is the scariest horror movie I’ve ever seen. Of course, this is a completely personal thing, every horror movie viewer is scared by something different, but along with the Paranormal Activity series (particularly Ghost Dimension), The Conjuring and all its sequels and spinoffs really did it for me.

Annabelle Comes Home, however, did not.

Annabelle Comes Home  movie promo poster

Annabelle Comes Home movie promo poster

Or rather, I should clarify that it did scare me, but not nearly to the same degree as the previous movies did. However, between watching the previous Conjuring movies and the latest installment, I’ve watched a buttload of horror movies, and have grown to be a bit desensitized (which, oddly enough, is not a thing I ever thought I’d say about myself. Then again, if my younger self could see me even running a horror blog at all, she’d fall over from shock.)

All of this aside, however, I do truly believe that Annabelle Comes Home was everything it could possibly be. My problem is that I wanted a catalogue of every item in that room and a detailed backstory for all of it. But that’s a packed room, they’d need several room-of-cursed-objects movies in order to cover it all. I think that the movie really covered everything they reasonably could, and did a great job of terrifying the audience while doing so. Despite my overall sense of fearlessness, there were several instances that I jumped in my seat, and I did even hide behind my hands twice.

The movie involves Ed and Lorraine Warren going off on another business trip and leaving their daughter Judy home with the babysitter, Mary-Ellen. Mary Ellen plans some special events for the weekend, as it’s Judy’s birthday. None of the kids at school want to come celebrate with her, however, because they’re all either too afraid or have parents that are too afraid, having just learned what Judy’s parents do for work. Because of this, Mary Ellen plans to make Judy’s birthday extra special with just the two of them, and later, Ed and Lorraine once they get back home.

However, Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela discovers who her friend is babysitting for, and crashes the weekend, with the express desire of getting behind the locked door that leads to the room of cursed objects. For anyone that’s seen even a handful of horror movies before, I’m sure you can imagine what ensues from here.

Screenshot from  Annabelle Comes Home  produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

Screenshot from Annabelle Comes Home produced by Atomic Monster Productions, New Line Cinema, and The Safran Company

Daniela breaks into the room, accidentally lets Annabelle out, and, of course, chaos ensues. Let’s just say that the warning on Annabelle’s box, “Positively do not open”, is there for a very good reason.

Despite the fact that there’s simply not enough time to catalogue every item in that room, the movie does do get through several choice items, including coins for the ferryman, which leads to several interesting twists and turns in the movie.

I would also love to take a moment to talk up McKenna Grace. That child is going places, and the fact that she’s already got such an impressive resume only serves to fuel that fact. Annabelle Comes Home had a few lead characters that different sections of the movie were dedicated to, but I feel it’s safe to say that, ultimately, Judy Warren, played by McKenna Grace was the central figure.

All in all, I did quite enjoy the movie, and while my own hopes may have been a bit too high, I think the movie did turn out great, and it holds up quite well against the rest of the series from which it comes.

I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet seen it (though for anyone who isn’t quite as used to horror movies, do be aware, as it will be quite scary). And remember: don’t pay his toll, he’ll take your soul, and whatever you do—

Positively, do not open.

Photo of the real Annabelle doll that currently sits in the Warren’s Occult Museum (Photo found via Reddit)

Photo of the real Annabelle doll that currently sits in the Warren’s Occult Museum (Photo found via Reddit)


Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.

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