“IT: Chapter Two” movie review

Kenny Eckstein-Schoemann

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Halloween’s around the corner and what better way to start off the season than with one of this year’s most anticipated films, IT: Chapter Two.

The film brings us back to Derry, Maine. It’s been twenty seven years since the events of the first film. Pennywise is back at it again, preying on children and anybody in his path. Keeping to their blood oath as kids, the now grown up Losers Club returns to their childhood town to pick up pieces of their lost memories and stop this evil clown once and for all. 

If you thought that this film couldn’t live up to the same level as the first film, you’re totally right. 

With all the hype leading up to this movie, this was not as good as the first film. Thankfully, there’s a lot to like about this movie. With big names like James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader as the grown up Losers, it was bound to lead to a lot of great moments. Though as with other Stephen King adaptations there were a lot of moments that left me scratching my head. In a film that adapts the second half of what’s essentially a thousand page book, it is LONG. Clocking in at two hours and forty nine minutes this film tries to fit as much of the storyline and lore as it can in this already long runtime.

Despite being a long film to sit through, it gives us a lot of great moments with the main Losers. When they get together you feel the comradery between these characters. You can easily see each of these actors as these kids from the first film, especially Bill Hader as Richie who in my opinion has the best moments in the movie. 

The other big standout in this film as expected is Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. Whenever he is on screen you know he is giving a hundred percent in every scene he’s in with these kid and adult actors. This clown is so over the top and so creepy you’ll either find yourself jumping out of your seat or laughing in the aisles. This performance alone is worth the price of admission.

Unfortunately, the film loses itself around the halfway point when the actors have to split up and look around town to flashback to their childhoods. Without giving anything away the way this sequence is edited and the choices that are made are so ridiculous and out of nowhere. It honestly feels like the 1990 miniseries. The tone and pacing feels like you’re in a goofy haunted house. Some of the setups to these “scares” are creepy enough but when you see what they’re building up to, they can’t help but come off as unintentionally hilarious. You can make the argument that this was the case considering the film stars a dancing clown, though with how seriously it takes itself I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the case in certain scenes. 

I am aware of events that happened in the book that were included in the movie to be faithful to the novel. I can see the argument to include these moments, but what most adaptations need to understand is that there are always going to be some elements of the story that have to change or be cut to create a flowing narrative. In the case with this film, this definitely could have been cut down by twenty five minutes easily. 

As I was watching this film I asked myself why it wasn’t as scary as the first one. The more I thought about it I began to realize that this story is scarier when told through the perspective of a child. Imagine if you saw a kid coming across Pennywise you would probably be horrified, but seeing an adult come face to face with this clown isn’t as scary because they’re actual grown ups. It also doesn’t help that some of the scares the Losers encounter are the same ones they saw as kids. While some of the Loser’s fears evolved or manifested over time, some of them remained the same. You would think after twenty seven years things would change or be different. With children you can suspend your disbelief a little more because you can relate to how vulnerable and scared you were at that age. That in my opinion is why a lot of people including myself think the first movie as well as the first half of this story is better.

Overall, It: Chapter Two was a movie that was neither great nor terrible. What held it together for me was the cast which in my opinion is pitch perfect. Some of the scares can unintentionally come off as funny and look cheap, though that’s what you expect from these Stephen King adaptations by now. If you’re looking for a film that caps off this series, this is a fun film to watch. If you’re looking for something that will keep you up at night, it’s probably best to look at this as a horror/comedy. It’s definitely an entertaining flick to sit through during the Halloween season. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 Sails

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