It can be hard to get excited for a horror movie sequel. The plot becomes sillier, the big bad seems less threatening, and the hero seems to get dumber. It Chapter Two seemed to be the exception. Based on Stephen King’s iconic novel of the same name, audiences loved the first installment and could not wait for the sequel. Unfortunately, the charm and terror found in the book are nowhere to be seen in this formulaic sequel.
It Chapter Two includes very strong performances. The impressive cast are easily the highlight of the film. Bill Hader is especially good in the role of the adult Richie Tozier. He lives up to his trashy nickname and brings much-needed levity to the story. The cast is rounded out with impressive performances from James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and James Ransone. Eddie and Richie complement each other perfectly. They have a great chemistry that shows off the bond between the Losers Club. It is regrettable that despite the great work of the rest of the cast, this connection is never shown anywhere else.
One of the downsides of 2017’s It is the lack of focus on some of the characters. It Chapter Two makes it a point to rectify this. More time is given to each character (though Mike disappears for a good portion of the film). Instead of adding to the group, the decision somehow makes them less interesting though. The script spreads itself too thinly leading to a bunch of an uninteresting characters. Bill never comes off as a leader while Ben could be smart, cocky, or something in between. The writing gives no clues which is okay since the audience probably will not care anyway.
Even though It Chapter Two feels every bit of it’s almost three hour run time, it fails to tell an engaging story. It lacks the disturbing quality of Midsommar or the excitement of Avengers: Endgame. It is a repetitive cycle of jump scares and fan service that quickly wears then. The movie probably would’ve been better served to be an hour shorter with another installment.
The film’s production is very choppy. Scenes are edited poorly and there are a few smooth transitions. Generic sound cues telegraph obvious jump scares. There are many times when the movie tries to get too cute. A great example is a scene involving child Eddie and adult Eddie in a pharmacy. When there is a well shot scene such as a person fighting to keep from drowning, it has been ruined by trailers. I may have missed it, but It Chapter Two also seems to not use the awesome Pennywise theme from the first movie.
Many people who go to see It Chapter Two could care less for the bond between the Losers Club or the history of Derry. They are there to see the one and only Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Bill Skarsgard ensures these fans will not be disappointed. Before the movie makes its audience completely indifferent, there is a great scene that sees the sad clown talking to a friendless young girl. This is one of the few truly scary moments in the film and it is mostly due to Skarsgard. Those who are only going to see the most famous scary clown in the world will not be disappointed.
It Chapter Two is a basic horror movie that seems content to the same things. There are jump scares, loud noises, and creatures running fast towards the camera. It also has strong performances from the entire cast. The movie would have been fine if it were not so long. Instead it is an overindulgent mess that will have audiences hoping the Losers beat It so the credits can finally roll.