By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “IT: Chapter Two”; Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett; Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque, John Ralston; Rating: ***1/2
There is something appealing about this not-so-hyped, black comedy which is designed as a stalk and slaughter, comic-horror thriller. Despite its predictable plot and a flimsy end, it is entertaining and keeps you engaged throughout its 97 minutes run time.
This simple, well-told story takes place within the estate of the weird, super-rich, Le Domas family, who made their millions through their Gaming Empire.
The narrative follows Grace (Samara Weaving), the newly-wed, young bride of the Le Domas’ younger son, the prodigal Alex (Mark O’Brien).
Raised by foster parents, Grace craves for a permanent family, a family to call her own. So it is poignant to watch her accept Alex’s clan, none of whom exhibit anything close to real normal behaviour.
After the wedding celebrations and the guests have gone home, Grace is informed of the odd, time-honoured, family tradition where the newly wedded in-law is forced into playing a midnight game with the family. The selection of the game, as to what to play, comes from the instructions mentioned on the card which is drawn from a pack by the newly inducted member.
Enthused to be a part of the family, and despite Alex’s reluctance, Grace agrees to partake in this family tradition. She picks up a card that states, ‘Hide-n-seek.’ She is thence, instructed to hide from everyone, till sunrise.
Excited, she goes to hide in the huge mansion. But then, she soon learns to her horror that this is a deadly and perverse version of the game, where her in-laws armed with ammunitions are hunting her down, trying to kill her.
During the course of the game, she is told if she is not killed before sunrise, the Le Domas family would perish, because of a pact signed by one of their ancestors with the Devil. And since Grace has no other option, she turns the table and begins the competition for the survival of the fittest.
Samara Weaving with her expressive eyes and beaming with energy gives a breakout performance as Grace. She shines in her act. She is vulnerable, deadpan funny, scared and resolute in this absolutely tricky role.
She is aptly supported by a talented and interesting cast as the Le Domas Family which includes: Mark O’Brien as her husband Alex, Andy MacDowell as Alex’s mother, Adam Brody as Alex’s older brother Daniel, Henry Czerny as Alex’s father. But it is the spiky-haired Nicky Guadagni with a quasi-fantastical tone, as Alex’s blood-thirsty, dowager Aunt Helene who stands out from the rest of the supporting cast.
Overall, this is a well-plotted film that brilliantly mixes; suspense, scares, violent set pieces, gore and humour that comprises of missed aims and sarcastic dialogues.
(Troy Ribeiro can be contacted at [email protected] and Twitter: @Troyribeiro)