‘It: Chapter Two’ taps into raw nerves, but it also cracks open a window for self-reflection

‘It: Chapter Two’ taps into raw nerves, but it also cracks open a window for self-reflection

The film understands that some fears only balloon over time.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

 

You’re braver than you think you are.” This was how Richie Tozier consoled an out-of-breath Eddie Kaspbrak as they navigated through the sewer cave, all in an attempt to end their personified horrors in the form of Pennywise. And while it’s probably the most cliche line thrown in It: Chapter Two, that doesn’t make it any less true.

It’s funny how we all think time will afford us bravery. As kids, we were convinced that becoming adults would make us invincible from our adolescent limitations — letting us do whatever we want, go wherever we needed to be, and stretch the possibilities of independence without being told off. More importantly, at any age, we hold on to the notion that time will help us outgrow the fears we harbor.

One thing I didn’t expect It: Chapter Two to be was existentially profound. While the first film was categorized by its coming-of-age tropes, It: Chapter Two dealt a lot with coming into terms with identity, loss, insecurities, and trauma. What made the sequel scarier than it really was, was the fact that being an adult didn’t shield anyone from the terrors of the world they belonged to. The Loser’s Club — made up of Bill, Beverly, Ben, Stanley, Eddie, and Richie — still felt helplessly scared despite their determination, and they all carried baggage from the past years that hadn’t quite metamorphosed into motivating strengths.

‘It: Chapter Two’ stars Isaiah Mustafa, Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Jay Ryan

27 years after their first encounter with the murderous clown Pennywise, the six friends remained terrified of what was to come (back). As kids, they made a pact to be the heroes of Derry, only to find that they were the ones who needed saving.

As a 20-something watching this film transpire in the darkness of the cinema, It: Chapter Two offers catharsis beyond escapism. This sequel consoles you with the universality of fears before making you realize how irrational most of these are once you come into terms with them. As adulthood ushers in terrors that are more abstract — those of guilt, regrets, failure, and nonacceptance — the film subtly embeds the purpose of fear in our own lives.

Sure, we all have our petty childhood phobias. I’m still as scared and disgusted with frogs as much as grown-up Ritchie still hates spiders. But there are bigger things that frighten me now.

I hate the idea of being humbled by experience and being confronted by the failure that immediately follows it. To be fed by the realization that the dreams I have laid out weren’t mine reach out for. The now infamous Imposter Syndrome also chips away huge parts of my self-confidence, making me believe that it’s only luck that brings good fortune.

It’s no secret that the generations who grew up in the age of social media are more anxious than before. Why wouldn’t we be? We have grown used to carrying facades, with constant filters to project picture-perfect lives online. We live out an image-centric culture that pressures us to create guidelines for self-branding, a culture where confidence and success are quantified by likes and followers. 

 

Yes, It: Chapter Two taps into raw nerves, but it also cracks open a window for self-reflection: What continues to scare me? What kinds of fears hold me back?

 

In our youth we were told by adults to change the world, only to find out why they didn’t have the courage to do it themselves. Settling is a dear friend of fear. It suspends us in our disbelief. We’re scared to step up, scared to question the terms that we’ve built our lives around in, scared to chase whatever it is we feel we deserve and can become.

Yes, It: Chapter Two taps into raw nerves, but it also cracks open a window for self-reflection: What continues to scare me? What kinds of fears hold me back?

Horror stories are expected to shock and scare, and this movie doesn’t miss a beat on its orchestrated bloodbath. But unlike other films in its genre, It: Chapter Two isn’t quite interested in reflecting the terrors that reside in reality. It doesn’t offer comfort from the violence that continues to saturate the news on the daily—violence that is supported by both the oblivious and the privileged.Instead, it makes us deal with the disquiet only we are aware of. 

It: Chapter Two sends us off to the world with the knowledge that fear begins to retreat when you begin to accept what is. Ironic, isn’t it? That we must learn to confront the causes of our anxiety and distrust after subjecting ourselves to the horrors set out by Stephen King. 

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