Australian Council on Children and the Media

IT: Chapter Two

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Not suitable for under 15; may be disturbing for 15-17 year olds (Very strong violence, horror and scary scenes and coarse language).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for IT: Chapter Two
  • a review of IT: Chapter Two completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 September 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to very strong and gory violence, horror and scary scenes and coarse language
Children aged 15–17 May be disturbing for children aged 15-17 due to very strong and gory violence, horror and scary scenes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: IT: Chapter Two
Classification: MA15+
Consumer advice lines: Strong horror themes, bloody violence and coarse language
Length 169 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

IT: Chapter Two begins with a flashback to 1989 when the seven members of the ‘Losers Club’ were terrorised by Pennywise the Clown, whom they called “IT”. At the time, they made a pact in blood that if IT were to return, they would reunite to fight it off again. Now, 27 years later, there is evidence that Pennywise is again attacking and killing children. Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) calls the group to return home to Derry, Maine, to once again defeat this evil.

Five of the original ‘Losers Club’ reluctantly join Mike and return to what they hoped had long been buried, while one of them, Stan (Andy Bean) doesn’t reply. Each of them has to confront not only the terror of the past but also their own personal traumas: Bill (James McAvoy), now a published writer, is still plagued with guilt over the death of his brother Georgie; Bev (Jessica Chastain), who is married to a controlling, abusive man, recalls the abuse of her father; Ben (Jay Ryan), now a slimmed down version of his former self, recalls the bullying he received as a ‘fat boy’; Eddie (James Ransone) has to overcome his paralysing fears and Richie (Bill Hader) comes to terms with the fact that he’s gay. Mike also recalls the death of his parents in a house fire. Meanwhile, a former bully, Henry Bowers (Teach Grant) is now incarcerated in a mental asylum.

As the attacks by Pennywise increase, the team learn that together they are stronger. They must all bring memories from their childhood and gather in the well beneath the old house. There they perform an American Indian ritual to rid them and Derry of Pennywise for ever.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Supernatural; Fantasy; Shapeshifting; Horror; Bullying

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of fantasy violence in this movie, but also some that is very realistic, including:

  • Two young gay men are seen at a funfair holding hands and kissing briefly. They are approached by bullies who start hurling homophobic abuse at them and then lay into them and viciously attack particularly one of the men. This man is repeatedly kicked and punched, while one of the younger bullies cheers the others on from the side and laughs at the victim’s bloodied face. The bullies then pick up the limp body and throw it over the bridge into a river. His friend watches all of this in horror and runs down to try and save him. He’s relieved to see a clown pull his friend from the river, but the clown then opens his mouth wide and bites his head off.
  • Bev’s husband grabs her by the throat and starts to hit her with a leather strap. It’s implied that he’s about to rape her (he takes his singlet off) but she knocks him out with a blunt object.
  • A dead man is seen in a bath, covered in blood. An apparent suicide.
  • Pennywise opens his mouth wide and bites a young girl’s head (his preferred method of killing).
  • Henry stabs Eddie with a knife through his cheek and laughs at him. Eddie pulls the knife out and then stabs Henry, there is blood everywhere.
  • Pennywise bites a young boy’s head and blood is seen everywhere.
  • Bill repeatedly stabs Henry the spider with a knife but he doesn’t die.
  • In a surrealistic scene the young Billy points a gun at the adult Billy. The adult Billy then grabs the gun and shoots the young Billy.
  • Eddie spears Pennywise and thinks he’s dead but then Pennywise spears Eddie. Eddie has a bloody wound and blood pours from his mouth.
  • Mike pulls out Pennywise’s beating heart and the friends all crush it.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Bev is seen as a younger girl in a catatonic state with dead eyes.
  • Bev, as an adult, dreams of a bloody hand that drips blood onto her bed.
  • Body parts are seen floating in the water; a man emerges from the water screaming.
  • Henry is kept in a mental asylum. He tries to jump through a closed window to escape but gets locked in his room. There he sees a red balloon beneath his bed (a sign of Pennywise) and hiding behind is a long-haired monster, with white eyes and no teeth, who chases Henry across the room.
  • At a dinner table, fortune cookies start to jump out of a bowl. They crack open and various insect/human type creatures fly out screeching. A black liquid pours out of the bowl over the table, while skulls are seen in a fish tank.
  • A young girl, Victoria, follows a glow-worm into a dark tunnel. There she meets Pennywise who lures her in. Pennywise looks very creepy with eyes crossed and drooling from his mouth.
  • Henry is seen with a knife in his hand, escaping from the hospital with the monster in a car.
  • Bev returns to her childhood home. There she finds an old woman residing as her father has since died. A flashback to Beverly’s childhood shows her abusive father yelling at her, blaming her for her mother’s death and saying she was embarrassed to be her mother.
  • The old woman is creepy. She’s seen in the distance naked and then appears as a naked monster with 2 mouths and hanging breasts who chases Beverly.
  • Pennywise is seen putting on his clown face. He claws at his skin to draw blood to make the red clown marks.
  • Richie is chased by a huge mechanical man with a giant claw. Richie says he thinks he’s ‘shit his pants’. Bats start to fly out of his mouth.
  • Billy puts his hand down a sewer drain to try to save his brother Georgie. His arm gets covered in hands that try to pull him in.
  • Ben sees himself as a child and tries to kiss Beverley. She turns on him, however, and says, “do you actually think I could like someone as fat and gross and ugly as you?” Her head then catches fire and she chases him down a corridor. Ben tries to hide in a locker but Pennywise is already in there. Ben sees his eyes glowing in the dark.
  • Eddie recalls as a child, finding his mother tied to a bed by leather straps around her waist and neck. He sees a hooded monster coming to get his mother, but the monster is restrained by chains. Eventually breaking free, a long tongue appears from the monster’s mouth which he sticks down his mother’s throat. The monster then comes for Eddie and spews black liquid all over him.
  • Bill is trapped in a hall of mirrors trying to reach a young boy who is being lured to his death by Pennywise. Pennywise is seen separated from the boy by a mirror. He then repeatedly bangs his head against the glass until it cracks open.
  • When the team reach the old house, blood wounds appear on Ben which spell out ‘Home at Last’. The house starts to shake, a fridge door opens and Henry is inside, tied in knots. His head rolls off and he starts talking. Legs grow out of his mouth and ears and he becomes a human spider. He chases Bill, Richie and Eddie and lands on Richie’s head. Eddie tries frantically to pull him off. Henry pours liquid into Richie’s mouth.
  • To reach the well beneath the house, the team must enter a sewer and wade through waist deep water. A naked monster appears out of the water and says she’s taking Bev. She drags Bev under the water but her friends save her. They must also go through a tunnel into a cave full of skulls and bones.
  • During the ritual three large globes of light appear which drop into the ritual urn. A large red balloon then emerges, filling the space. It explodes and Pennywise appears as a giant spider with knives for claws. He chases after them. Bev and Ben go flying through space. Bev ends up locked in a toilet which starts to overflow with blood. Bev is trapped in the ever-rising blood while Ben is trapped in a container filling with dirt. Bev sees her father calling to her to come to him.
  • Bill is seen trapped in a time warp seeing himself as a child being confronted by Georgie. Georgie screams at him and spiders start appearing from his eyes.
  • Pennywise opens his mouth which becomes a furnace. He directs the furnace fire towards Richie who goes into a catatonic state. Richie’s eyes become white and he is elevated in a paralysed state.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The above-mentioned scenes are likely to scare or disturb this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • The above-mentioned scenes are likely to scare or disturb this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • The above-mentioned scenes are likely to scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen and may disturb many adults.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Richie says that his girlfriend caught him masturbating, now he’s a member of masturbators anonymous.
  • Richie says, “we’re lucky we’re not measuring dicks”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Two men are seen kissing
  • A man is seen naked from behind while getting into a bath.
  • Bev and Billy kiss as teenagers and as adults. Bev also kisses Ben.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Mike puts a drug in Bill’s drink which causes hallucinations. Bill sees everything swaying and monsters flying, screaming and attacking him.
  • Characters drink and smoke throughout the movie.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Frequent use of the words fuck/fucking/fuck off
  • Motherfucker
  • Arsehole
  • Holy shit
  • Oh my God
  • Kill the shit out of it
  • Jesus Christ
  • Bitch

There is also name calling such as:

  • Fucking fairies
  • Dickhead
  • Dipshit
  • Dickwad
  • Fucking pussy
  • Fat arse
  • Prick
  • Fagot

In a nutshell

IT: Chapter Two is a supernatural horror movie with an overabundance of blood and gore and frequent coarse language. Most of the violence is fantasy but some of it isn’t and is quite intense. Fortunately, some light moments inject a bit of humour into the movie. Due to the graphic content, IT: Chapter Two is not suitable for under 15’s and some 15 – 17 year olds are likely to find it disturbing.

The main messages from this movie are to confront and overcome your fears and that we’re stronger together than on our own.

This movie could give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Is Pennywise a metaphor for all that we most fear, such as monsters killing young children?
  • Are our imaginary fears more powerful than real fears?

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