Horror is a genre of filmmaking which is hard to rate. Unlike other genres, the acting in a horror film can be awful (most of the time, it is), but yet, if the director can set a tone and mood which carries throughout the film, we can usually look past the terrible acting…usually. On the reverse side, great acting without a consistent tone or mood can sink it. Unfortunately, It: Chapter 2 is a film with a ton of promise that falls somewhere into the latter category.
When It (2017) was released, it shocked a lot of people. Here was a story that was already told before in a miniseries, which is beloved in the horror realm, and Andrés Muschietti’s version greatly exceeded our high expectations. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise actually made me forget about Tim Curry’s fantastic turn as the killer clown in the miniseries. The kids were awesome and avoided the usual plight of being annoying children in horror films. But with IT: Chapter 2, all of that went away. Bill Skarsgård was extremely under utilized, the kids were back but were characterizations of themselves, and Mushchietti forget about being creative with his scares and instead relied on cliches and comical CGI.
None of this is to say that IT: Chapter 2 is a bad movie… It’s a solid movie. It just does not live up to the expectations set forth in the first movie. It feels like a film that was made for movie fans and not for fans of horror movies. Whereas the first film was creepy, unpredictable, and genuinely creative, IT: Chapter 2 was formulaic, over-the-top, and felt too much like a comedy masquerading as a horror film.
In terms of what did work, the cast (of adults) are great. James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and especially scene-stealer extortioner Bill Hader really played their parts well. They all nailed the nuances that their teenage versions had from the first film. Everyone else does a fine job as well, but they are nothing to write home about. The teens are back too, although I do feel like they overstay their welcome. Too many times are we thrown back to the summer after the events and honestly, it just takes you out of the moment as the film uses them as an excuse to “explain” things in the future. It just did not feel needed to put such an emphasis on the teenage versions this time around. This is unfortunate as I would have preferred the plot to remain more focused on the adults facing their foe yet again. It would have been more compelling and interesting than revisiting those teen years intermittently throughout the film.
IT: Chapter 2 suffers from some pacing issues as well. For a horror film, there was a lot of time spent on comedy without story-progression. A big example of that is a cameo that occurs in the middle of the film involving Bill’s old bicycle. It was a nice nod to fans, but it just went on too long for comedy sake. And that is a continuing issue throughout the film: Fan Service. It seems that the studio/filmmakers were not trying to make a horror film, but rather to make a film that would make lots of money (IT will… See what I did there?) and satisfy non-horror fans. Everything is too big, too CGI’ed, and too long.
Clocking in at just under 3 hours, there is a lot of movie here, the problem lies with most of that time placating to a mass audience and not to the horror fans who pushed the first film over the top. If you are looking for a horror film that will scare you throughout its runtime, this is not a film for you. If you are hoping for a repeat of the lightning in the bottle that was the first film, you will not get it here. However, if you are looking for a horror film that will just simply entertain you with extravagant set-pieces, solid acting, and some nice scares, IT: Chapter 2 is a movie for you!
|IT Chapter Two|
|RELEASE DATE:||September 6th, 2019|