By: Payton Hefright
It: Chapter 2 is the second installment in the new film adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most beloved novels. The film follows up on the lives of seven characters, “The Loser’s Club,” as they name themselves in the first movie. It shows their experiences as adults returning to their hometown of Derry to defeat Pennywise the clown. In the first movie, they subdued Pennywise as a group of middle school aged kids. Now, they must face their fears and return to the place of their traumatic experiences to defeat “It” for good.
Unlike many horror movies making their debut in the year 2019, It: Chapter 2 is a primarily plot driven film, and a long one at that. In terms of scare quality, (it is a horror movie after all, right?) it doesn’t provide much tension or well thought out horror, but it instead relies on mostly jump-scares and the gruesome looking manifestations of Pennywise to affect its audience. As far as what personally scares me, it didn’t quite do the job, but I still found entertainment in and enjoyed the movie’s “creepy” aspects.
With a runtime of nearly three hours, the movie certainly feels long. It does not hold back on its indulgent flashbacks, and, while they were still fun to watch, they take up so much of the movie it feels more like It: Chapter 1 ½, rather than 2. While it was possible they could’ve cut down on the flashbacks, they added the element of contrasting the Loser’s past selves with their now adult selves, which I liked.
Like any good Stephen King story, it feels jam-packed. It’s no wonder that adaptations of his stories are often mini-series, rather than your traditional feature length film. However, the immense amount of plot occurrences and twists kept me interested during the entire movie, which I find impressive from something in the horror genre. Especially for a sequel, when there is so much pressure to have it live up to the first film (which I also liked), the creators did a phenomenal job in bringing this fascinating story to life.
Many of this film’s triumphs are due to the excellent casting. Bill Hader shines in his role of the witty, deadpan Ritchie Tozier, and shows off his acting range throughout the length of this movie. Many fans are already campaigning for an Oscar nomination. If horror isn’t your thing, this movie doubles as a drama with its surprising emotional depth. While the film might go a little overboard with its themes of nostalgia, basically screaming in your face, “The real horror is adulthood!” it’s touching nonetheless.
This movie is an excellent addition to the first, complimenting it and making the first feel much more fleshed out. However, because the second seems to have so much more substance, it takes unexpected detours in tone as a result. For example, a scene in which Eddie is attacked by his fear embodied: a leper, the movie includes a playful five seconds in which “Angel of the Morning” plays whilst the leper throws up on Eddie. Maybe if they had taken more risks with their editing to include more shots like this, it wouldn’t feel so out of place. It made me laugh, despite it not matching the tone of the entire movie and the one before it. Most of the comedy thus far had been verbal jabs from the characters. This scene was just a strange decision, in my opinion.
Overall, I had a positive reaction to this film. On a scale out of five stars, I’m giving it a 3.5. I genuinely think it’s a solid adaptation that manages to capture its audience and make them feel things. Despite its flaws, I would recommend this to any horror fan who would also love a good laugh, cry, and spook, who also has three hours to spare.